I am sick of my thoughts

KIVLAND, Sharon (2011). I am sick of my thoughts. [Show/Exhibition]

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Official URL: http://domobaal.com/exhibitions/59-11-sharon-kivla...

Abstract

Solo exhibition at Domo Baal, London, March to April 2011 Kivland exhibited studio works, including works on paper, prints, photographs, and watercolours, made over the preceding two years in a state of malaise. They are works of interrupted thought. The artist writes that she is sick of her thoughts, and copies her son's concordance as he observes 'elle est malade de ses pensées'. A photograph of a woman lying back, her hair falling in an unlikely mass is countered by a text work in which Zola's novel Nana (a favourite recourse of the artist) has been digested according to light and lighting effects, including those of metaphor. It ends with the line: The hair, the beautiful hair, still blazed like sunlight and flowed in a stream of gold. Nana is a grotesque corpse at the end of the novel, and it is true that the photograph has an unhealthy cast. The artist practices her limited skills in watercolour, copying carte de voeux, which show the similar scene of snow, a river or stream, a forest, a village. She looks at the banal image for a long time, committing it to memory, then turns it over to look at it no longer, rendering then what she imagines was pictured overleaf. The watercolours are framed with their original, reversed to show the message, a wish for health, for a lovely year. These, she will say, are her good years. 1968 was a good year, too, and she is equally fond of 1848, 1871, and some years in the 1950s, working from her collection of French women's magazines, published at particular moments of insurrection or social change. Pictures are isolated from their backgrounds, reprinted, then coloured as faithfully as possible according to their original colour, which becomes a strange 'maquillage', or indeed, in Joan Riviere's term, a masquerade. And masquerade is a play on the imaginary, subject to the market of sexuality, which masks the object. They become grotesque, even though she tries to work as carefully as possible, really doing her very best not to spoil them, like a teenage girl in her bedroom (colouring in her idealised drawings of what she may wish to become). She stops when she finds herself applying too much colour, in too garish a shade, but a discrete application seems sadly insufficient. Nonetheless, she arrests herself at the point of violence to the image. A supposedly enticing picture (a woman lifting her hand to her face, turning her head, her hair flicking back in the other hand), however banal, is very easily turned into something ugly and clumsy, yet retains or reconstitutes a horrible attraction. It is monstrous, of course, in its overdone appearance of femininity, and each betrays something in its intersection with history. She imagines that her works are made with both care and taste, that they are discretely knowing with just a soupçon of intellectual quality, moderated by a soft, persuasive voice, with a harmony of style and discourse.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Additional Information: Le cri de la soie (Volume I and Volume 2) by Sharon Kivland were published to accompany this exhibition.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sharon Kivland
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2012 12:57
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2012 14:29
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4829

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