Recollection (Toward Oblivion) 


Installation, Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts

September-October 2002

To recollect, to remember is a function of our consciousness; it is how we form our identities and our places in the universe. To enter a place is to locate one’s self in the cosmos; similarly our bodies become places in the scheme remember.  We were there.

To forget is also to define one’s self, one’s history.  It is a form of for(e)-giving; where the past is relinquished to the future. This forgiveness is often ritualized so that we may recollect memory ceremonially before we cast it into the abyss.

In the Cantor Art Gallery, the space is being reconfigured for future exhibitions.  In order to accomplish this, materials within the gallery are removed, others brought in.  At each exhibition, the gallery reorganizes its physical context to render the artwork in an intelligible framework.

In this case, we are between exhibitions.  The work “Recollection” is something on the edge between two places, the past and the future.  It is on the threshold, on the margins.  The subject of the exhibition is the gallery itself.  It looks back on itself.   It is cleansed of the past, but for a moment holds these past materials into the light to see them for what they are.

Ritual action is a form of concentrating on the past, bringing it to the present in a way that guides us to lose the chaos of our minds.  We revel (and are revealed) in the singular consciousness of the past meeting the present.  In this case we take apart the gallery, but the dissolution occurs in slow motion.  We organize all the things we would cast into chaos and observe that there is order; there is a solut(e)ion and absolution of the past into the empty present.

All the materials that are removed during the gallery’s renovation are displayed so we may contemplate their visibility; for so long they have stood in the background, invisible.  We sift through the glue, paint, dirt, nails, screws, wood and observe their proportions and numbers.  We listen to the space, try to see into its hidden nature and watch it passing before our eyes into oblivion, forgotten.