‘One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.’ Carl Jung (1945). *
My current work focuses on the impact of traumatic experiences on our relationship with self and other, exploring a sense of internal disruption, distance and isolation through multiple mediums. It is an attempt to make sense of experiences that on some level make no sense at all, searching for meaning in chaos.
Through a series of digitally altered photographic images and film I explore aspects of the experienced impact of trauma. The images, printed onto fragile voiles, have been sutured to replicate wounds. The blindfold present throughout the work symbolises disconnection, whilst the repetitive imagery emulates ruminative mental processes and reexperiencing. The use of an ‘old style’ TV reinforces an impression of the past remaining present, and the film ‘You can’t see me’ suggests a search for answers hidden in the darkness. Layering within the work presents interactions with the self, and the accumulation of disruption acquires a sense of confusion. The work developed around the symbolic starting point of a dress, the outermost external layer (clothing) that everyone hides behind, and by which we are superficially judged.
The work forms part of an enquiry around ideas of duality, darkness and light that is ongoing. Present influences include works by Doris Salcedo, Christian Boltanski and the films of Bill Viola, although I draw on various knowledge bases such as philosophy and psychology. I consider a subject from all possible angles, but my work remains a personal communication, an attempt to understand and create something positive to share.
My aim is for the work to be experienced, for the viewer to navigate an internal space from which others are usually ‘shut out’. A space of uncertainty between what was and is. The use of headphones to listen to the film means that you need to enter the space, and spend time there alone, to fully experience it. You are invited in, to share what cannot be shared.
Visually exploring a felt sense of something that seems intuitively relevant creates a kind of non-verbal internal dialogue. Representations of emotional experiences, that perhaps cannot be processed or verbalised until they are symbolised, become a visual metaphor that can be considered, questioned and refined, until it feels right. If it resonates with the internal experience, the hope is that it will be understood on an empathetic level, communicating something of the individual and universal experience to others.
Through exploring Jung’s ‘darkness’, beneath layers of protection, I have found there is only our vulnerability… but I have realised that this vulnerability is the essence of our humanity. The challenge is to let it live in the light.
More photographs of the exhibition can be found on my facebook page E K E Artworks
* Carl Jung “The Philosophical Tree” (1945). In CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335