Eleanor Cardwell

 

MA Book Arts, BA(hons) Fine Art; Painting

My practice begins when I notice that something has been lost. I revisit urban spaces with which I have personal histories and use the book as a nostalgic object, and a device by which to record my own memories. Also, as an attempt to express the sense of confusion and obsession associated with loss. What I see in these spaces is how I have changed; the image of what I am no longer. I become a spectator of myself at another time.

My headless, limbless, faceless silhouettes are idealised ‘just bodies’ of the person I try to remember. The negative space in my images is filled by what the viewer’s mind imagines to have been there and what my mind remembers to be there. I like the jarring of the memory of the artist vs. the memory of the viewer. My work plays with the idea of the ephemeral by recording things or times that have been lost, and making them tangible, satisfying the collector’s attachment to permanence. In destroying a book I have escaped the fantasy images of a past reality, and by recording this process, created a new reality. My work rejects the dematerialised object of the conceptualists by creating images of beauty from a, literally, dematerialised object.

It has become increasingly important for me to remember that memory is littered with imagination, because the process of remembering is conjuring up what is absent, it is difficult to separate memory from an idealised reality. My books act as souvenirs from imagined perfect times. Souvenirs, as objects which cannot exist without loss and removal from their original context, idealise the past and discredit the present.

I use the book to create sequences that allude to visual narratives through space or time, or both. ‘Reading’ a book is a process of waiting. Waiting for something to change, for something to happen, for some kind of conclusion. This never happens in my books. The book’s structure and inherent tactility has become an essential element of my work. Each page of a book suppresses the view of the next and previous page, the length of the book deciphers the length of the wait, and the paper itself has a memory.


book, paper cut, painter, paint, painting, paper, art, book arts, artists books, drawing, collage