Index and Context

Objects and our relationships to them form the foundation of humanity. The innate ability to recognize and categorize everyday objects allows one to navigate the mundanity of daily life. I am curious about the effect of recreating these objects and the spaces they inhabit on the viewer. How specific does an object need to be in order to trigger a memory? Is it just an object that triggers memory or is it the relationship to other objects in context that is responsible? How does a physical interaction with an object compared to a photographic representation change its effect on recollection? Do the objects then become artifacts of this framed experience? 

 

Constructed of clay the pieces in this show are not meant to be replicas of specific objects, they are meant to mimic. My aim is to look at objects within a category, something as simple as a radio, and create an amalgamation of radios that is both vague and specific enough to allow the viewer to place it within their personal experience. Pieces are constructed with minimal detail, and with both a rough touch and a kind of softness that renders them almost shadow like. The objects are left unglazed or colored as to be monochromatic. The intent in working this way is to create the thing that is the thing but isn’t it at all. 

 

This index of physical objects is used to construct sculptural vignettes that create context. The vignettes are constructed in a space that imitates the color of the objects creating a monochromatic space in which color hierarchy is eliminated. In these spaces I use light to cast shadows over the assemblages conveying a sense of time and place. As the groupings are assembled they are photographed, rearranged, re-photographed and disassembled many times. This process allows for the index to continually take on new contexts and meanings within its framework. At certain stages in the process arrangements may suggest the need for a shift in color, at this stage the group of objects will be resurfaced as the background shifts to mirror the objects. The photographs become a documentation of a time and a place and the physical index of objects that occupy them are deferred to the role of artifact.

 © 2020 Dennis Ritter

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