Passing by the Tree, the skin of memory 2012
Photography by John Lee and Nathalie Hartog-Gautier
All works are gouache painting, size 18 x 18 cm
This body of work is about my aunt who suffers from Dementia. She remembers very little of the past and to visit her is like entering another world. I wanted to remember our time together. When I see her or think of her I attach images which, to use Proust’s expression, “will break the spell”.
My aunt doesn’t speak French anymore and from the new language she has created, I developed a set of poems based on our surrealistic conversation. They translate my emotion into written sounds and rhythms.
The drawings of geometrical shapes are a representation of the space we live in but with illusions and distortions translating the world my Aunt lives in.
I also wanted to remember the everyday objects that were part of her life: rubbings on paper such as the armchair she used to sit on and other pieces of furniture; a tactile and intimate photography of her objects.
I constructed fragile paper vessels made from cotton fibers, it dries like the skin: it wrinkles and they carry balls of un-knitted wool, holding its own memory and the passing of time.
They are remnants of a past life and the memories of things past. As Proust wrote, they become my trees, awaking, recollecting the account of our days together.