Maggie Cardelus Bird People Maggie Cardelus Bird People
Maggie Cardelus: Bird People, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Marais, 2004

Maggie Cardelus Bird People

11 September—16 October 2004
Paris Marais
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Overview

What is memory if not aesthetic, if not a feeling associated with a disappearing image? It is image taken to the brink of non-existence

What is memory if not aesthetic, if not a feeling associated with a disappearing image? It is image taken to the brink of non-existence; the moment of vanishing. Memory is image gasping for air before it is swallowed up by emotion. Memory does this even if it has been caught and can't move, like a caged bird. Snapshots take us immediately to memory: at least, at most, to an idea of memory. Snapshots are tyrannical and dictate to us how we should remember. Sooner or later what we remember most is the snapshot. The cut-outs help me keep what would otherwise be lost. Slowly the cut-outs are building up into a story where people appear, disappear, recur, dart in and out of images, as they do through memory: as birds do in a landscape. I don't want to catch them, just to listen to them in the garden. The show recalls birds and people; when people became birds; when memory...

What is memory if not aesthetic, if not a feeling associated with a disappearing image? It is image taken to the brink of non-existence; the moment of vanishing. Memory is image gasping for air before it is swallowed up by emotion. Memory does this even if it has been caught and can't move, like a caged bird.

Snapshots take us immediately to memory: at least, at most, to an idea of memory. Snapshots are tyrannical and dictate to us how we should remember. Sooner or later what we remember most is the snapshot.

The cut-outs help me keep what would otherwise be lost. Slowly the cut-outs are building up into a story where people appear, disappear, recur, dart in and out of images, as they do through memory: as birds do in a landscape. I don't want to catch them, just to listen to them in the garden.

The show recalls birds and people; when people became birds; when memory became birds; when people became memory. The metamorphosis can happen in so many different ways, and it keeps on happening over time.

Bird People is a kind of memory site, where bird bones are layered with gestural drawings. What began as a portrait of a relationship between two people becomes about how other people's stories coexist with my own. Fatima in Fatima Flying was a bird about fifty years ago; Zoo became the sky a few months ago. Turi with Wings can't fly, whereas Zoo Flying plunges into the folding space of involuntary memory. Feathers dances in space and waves like dune grass, recalling a moment when four girls danced in costume on a beach deck looking like four tropical birds. Together memory is negotiated into forms that describe the complexity of remembering, of constructing memory, of inheriting memory, of forgetting.


Maggie Cardelus
September 2004

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