May 032016
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He sent me “home, claustrophobic, dislocated, comfort, soothing, tranquil, mindful, healing, content“.

I sent him this. An assemblage made from photographs of our bed taken after we’d vacated it, twenty-one mornings, printed on the protective glass taken from old slide mounts, woven into a grid. A small intimate piece that required close engagement.

My son reached a place, at the beginning of this year, where he struggled to lift himself from the mire. That’s what started this. And a quest to find what made him feel sad, so that he could find out how to find happiness again. A change in homespace created an opportunity for a different kind of flatwarming. “New Ways to Open the Home” – a group exhibition at One Chair Gallery presented by One Car Gallery. Part of his desire to bring art out of the white box.

It gave me the inspiration I needed to make work again, and feel the joy of something tangible in my hands. I think I’m a sculptor. Materials matter. And enliven me. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. We’ll save that for another day.

Here’s what I sent him.

A place of sanctuary, intimacy and slumber.

An ordinary place.

I wondered if our life could be encapsulated in reference to this one moment of routine. A moment shared, one way or another, by most humans on the planet.

It was summer, we were in an inbetween place – knowing what our next step would be, but not when. Periods of frustration at the inertia, and a realisation that the best I could do for myself was to enjoy what was there and now. Not to rail at the future for not coming fast enough. To note and treasure small domestic moments of a life that would be different soon enough. To realise that this day will never be repeated. Never. Documenting became a way of holding on to that space, and time.

I wondered about the threads joining each day, what building a narrative would show me about ourselves. There were gaps, but you wouldn’t know, such is the comfort of habit, and the security of the frame. Even at the end, the last picture taken six weeks after the previous, doesn’t mark the profound changes that had come in the meantime. The house around us was empty, sold and cleared out apart from the bed.

An island in familiar/unfamiliar space.

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  8 Responses to “21 days i got out of bed, Kawaha Point – March 2015”

  1. There’s so much symbolism in this piece. Even the threads holding the photos together are symbolic of what makes up the sheets. It would be interesting to study what kind of day we have relative to what’d bed looks like each morning! 🙂

    • That’s a very interesting idea Ann! Might have to follow that one up – I’m sure it will be very telling.

  2. Love the story and the result.
    Jenny, I am so grateful you are happy for me to share this project with Christchurch Photographic Society members tonight.

    • My pleasure! Hope you had a good night, and lots of inspiration.

    • And Jenny, he saved this best until last – it was a great presentation John AND Ian. Thank you both. You have certainly set a really great challenge for the members of CPS.

  3. Jenny, I am overwhelmed, thank you. This is a special piece. You are a special mother. We all have deep feelings and it is often so hard to get them out in a meaningful way. What a wonderful vehicle. We have recently had to deal with one of our children having their life turned upside down without a moment of notice. I have never felt so inadequate – you have shown me a way. Inspirational.

  4. Jen, you never fail to amaze me. You take me to a point that I don’t really have the vocabulary available to communicate my feelings. Thank you for being you and inspiring me each day to try and be a better person.

  5. I really hope that sometime I could see this installation in the real. I can’t imagine how you print those images onto the tiny pieces of glass from slide mounts. You must have such a lot of patience. It looks just fantastic and what a journey you and your family have been through. And are still going through I imagine. It’s not easy to let go when one is older . . .

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