Macquarie University Gallery, 17 March – 30 April 2008, Video installation, Approximately 7 m long x 60 cm
BOXES FOR MEMORY
Nathalie Hartog-Gautier’s “Boxes for Memory” expands upon the idea of memory as a fluid and retrievable modal that can be preserved as an archive. The constructed specimen boxes act as memory chambers, recording devices to protect and recall the artist’s childhood memories of her family’s property in Le Maine, France. The installation device becomes a vehicle for weaving those memories within an intimate and continuously played dialogue. Hartog-Gautier has crafted the installation very much in the vein of the way a devoted gardener works. She has lovingly prepared a bed of soil ready for next season’s planting, which she describes in her own words “I have been preparing my memory”.
The artist has activated for the viewer an intimate experience revealing personal photographs and film of her parents from the past interweaved with imagery of the family’s property as it stands today. The artist is opening up to the viewer a personal account which can be read through the spatial configuration adopted within the installation. Nathalie’s work encodes the memories of the past through the living present – the plate containing a personal family letter stamped in 1949 creates an emotional aide memoire which has effectively enlivened the memories of her family”:
“My family’s property has now been sold. It will be passed on to create another set of realities, histories and memories so it became important for me to record before the transformation of the place, my place where I grew, my place of origin is Le Maine in the department of La Sarthe, France. The whole experience was healing where nature itself became an analogy for nurturing.”
Senior Curator Macquarie University Gallery