Oscillium Asylum

oscillium asylum, originally uploaded by me-jade.

This little piece is called OSCILLIUM ASYLUM (EPISODE 1).
It’s made of papier mache, various fabrics and threads, wood, wire, pages from printed books and mixed media, maximum depth 36cm.

It was one of my pieces in a show at Project Artspace, (in Wollongong) LIMINAL PERSONAE, which is going up to gallery 4a in Sydney next month. The exhibition was/is curated by the lovely Lauren Brown and Moira Kirkwood……Laurens blog, She Sees Red , is really really excellent, (and she is an awfully good artist), so have a look! When the details of the show are completely definite, I’ll post’em.

In case you’re wondering, the word ‘liminal’ means ‘of the threshold.’

I was making the piece at the same time as making the Desolation Row sculptures, so it kind of fits with them, in terms of the processes and techniques used, and the ideas that informed its creation.

An 'oscillium' (in latin) was a mask (of Bacchus) hung in a tree in a vinyard to bring luck / a good harvest. It would swing in the wind, and this led to the word 'oscillate', which seemed appropriate, as the piece hangs from the ceiling….if there was a breeze, it would swing!
This also seemed to fit with its puppet-like appearance, as well as having an interesting link to the origins of the word 'personae' which, in its original form, referred to the masks used in ancient Roman theatre. So there is a definite theatrical theme.

I also feel that the work had certain paradoxical qualities….the wheels are immobilized, and so useless. It looks like it might like to fly away, but it is tied up with string, so it can only go round in circles, or swing too and fro. The piece is playful, but slightly ominous.

This is the statement I submitted for the publication accompanying the show;

‘Vacation or evacuation, fight or flight, sanctuary or suffocation, suspended animation, an atrophied acrobat.
It could swing either way. Who is pulling the strings?’

The ‘asylum’ bit seemed appropriate for its rather paradoxical associations. Supposedly meaning sanctuary, the experience of a mental asylum generally being anything but a pleasurable escape (or at least thats what i'm told..haha). And the same is often true in the case of asylum seekers….a detention centre is hardly a sanctuary, or a safe haven.
And so you cannot tell if the sculpture is happily floating, or ‘strung up’, unable to escape.

The piece seemed to fit nicely with Liminality, too. It looks like it could be in some kind of transitional state, neither here nor there. Sort of like it might metamorphose at any moment.

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