Domestic Taxidermies (I) (2019)
flax, abaca, found wooden chair
14 x 11 in.
Paper is an incredibly assertive material. As wet pulp dries, it contracts, pulls, tears, and contorts. As a membrane it asserts agency – pushing with and against an underlying skeleton. By encasing structures of altered found objects in a skin of handmade paper, I investigate how these two agents can struggle and collaborate to negotiate a form. I am interested in how this skin can articulate an underlying skeleton. The paper shrinks tightly to the armature, creating complex curves through the negative space surrounding an object. My work is a study in opposing forces, the push and pull of materials in opposition.
Most recently, my work has involved covering armatures made from collected, deconstructed, and altered pieces of discarded furniture. The literal, physical tension of these pieces suggest a tense negotiation between structure and membrane, a relationship of force. These objects sit in a space of potential motion and potential destruction, on the verge of bursting open. I am interested in the subversion of function, the misuse or non-use of objects, of making the familiar unfamiliar. The breakdown of recognizable pieces of furniture, the transformation of paper into sculptural membrane – these changes allow us to question our understanding of existing systems and symbols.
I want to push abstraction – to take recognizable objects and abstract their function, reducing them to signifiers of their previous forms no longer referencing their purpose, complicating and creating an uncomfortable understanding of how they relate to our bodies.
© Molly Blumberg