Not just telling stories
08 Apr – 22 Apr 2017
These works were the end result of a larger project and solo exhibition titled ‘Fiction in the space between’ that was completed in 2016 for the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. The premise of the project was to ask people for an object or the memory of an object which I could either re-interpret or incorporate in to a new work.
The contributor response works became intensely personal – because I was dealing with stories, and in some cases objects, which were significant to the project participants. I felt a huge amount of responsibility to get my interpretations right, and to make things that were beautiful and which responded sensitively to each contributor.
After making the first initial body of response work I made a second lot of work. I wanted to pursue some of the visual problems or challenges that arose from the first body of work without mining the emotional aspects of my contributor’s stories.
The 12 necklaces in ‘Not just telling stories’ at The National generally have little or no obvious visual connection to the original contributor items. They deal with what I think of as being the ‘formal’ or aesthetic qualities raised in the first body of work.
The title of the Sarjeant Gallery exhibition ‘Fiction in the space between’ is a line from a Tracy Chapman song called ‘Telling stories’. It fitted the way I felt about what happens in the telling and retelling, and interpretation of stories. We may all see the same incident but each of us will interpret or experience it differently. In the retelling, things can change again…
The current exhibition follows on from this, with the title taken from the same song. Now that the stories have been told, I’m “Not just telling stories” anymore”.
Frances Stachl, 2017