A History of Attempts
A History of Attempts is influenced by ritual altars and likewise transcendental arrangements (those which make communication between several levels of reality easier). The work was the result of the Good Trip/Bad Trip yearlong project, which related the 60’s and 70's notion of ‘the trip’ with some of the assumed effects of art (i.e. sensorial impulses, thought inducers, transcendental experiences, etc).
The group travelled from Amsterdam to Lake Baikal (Siberia), embarking on the slow movement of the Transiberian Express train. 7000 km later we stayed on Olkhon Island, inside the lake. This stay served as an introduction to the Buryat shamanic tradition -prevalent in this area- which regards Olkhon’s ‘Shaman’s Rock’ as one of the 7 most sacred places in the world. There I held conversations with the local shaman, and witnessed the importance of space, arrangements and fire in his practice.
Bringing this ‘exotic’ experience closer to my personal background, I focused on European traditional games, which commonly have a religious or ritualistic root, i.e.: a medieval ritual in which you draw rectangles on the floor that stand for ‘steps’ in an imagined ladder from earth to heaven. The aim of the game is to transcend, finally reaching paradise.
This idea combines with the presence of carefully arranged burnt matches. They stress the archaeological impulse on this work and suggest some kind of familiar but unknown code, a possible tool for communication that brings to mind Morse, Braille or flag language.
A HISTORY OF ATTEMPTS
soil and used matches
600 x 250 x 3 cm
They Were Hungry exhibition at EVILSON (Cape Town Art week 2012)
get the exhibition guide here: