Art exhibition features sculptures that Saskatoon artists created from descriptions of lost objects
A Saskatoon artist uses earthenware monuments to recreate lost objects – or at least her vision of them.
The Imagined Objects exhibition at the Art Gallery of Regina shows sculptures and drawings by Saskatchewan artists Jessica Morgun and Tamara Rusnak.
Morgun’s stoneware monuments were created from her vision of a lost object that was described by participants. She interviewed local community members about lost items in February and asked people to describe the items while focusing on non-visual senses.
“I let her remind her of how it felt in her hands, how it smelled, even how it tasted, a kind of material reminder of the object,” Morgun told CBC Radio’s Saskatchewan weekend.
“From that description I created these pieces of stoneware that try to represent what they described to me and become, so to speak, the object’s second life,” she said.
She even asked participants to imagine putting the object or part of it in their mouths.
“One person described that the longer it stayed in their mouth, the more it started to dissolve and fall apart,” she said.
“I found this really interesting and atmospheric, so I thought of something that was kind of fragile and porous and could potentially crumble when exposed to moisture.”
Morgun said there are also text panels on the wall of the exhibit with a sentence or two explaining the description it was given, then people in the exhibit can try to figure out which sculpture the text panel explains.
“You can play the guessing game and use your imagination too,” she said.
Morgun can also play some sort of guessing game as she doesn’t know what many of the lost items actually are.
“I like not knowing because it keeps the secret around these objects and makes them a little more special or sacred,” she said.
However, Morgun said that some participants preferred to tell her what the object was in order to say goodbye to it.
She once said that the sculpture she created was very different from the object being described, while another time she had a pretty good idea of what was being described but did not want to make an exact replica.
“I try to get rid of a guess when I make the object because of course it’s not about making a copy of the object. It’s about getting the feel of the object,” she said.
“Poignant and absurd”
The Art Gallery of Regina described Morgun’s stoneware memorials for lost belongings in a press release about the exhibition as “poignant and absurd”.
“I think these are great adjectives,” she said.
“Some interesting things happen with the challenge of translating these lost things into stoneware. … Some of these objects are malleable, they are soft or have fur, or they have properties that are really difficult to translate into clay. “
Morgun said she tried to create a soft and pliable texture with tiny tendrils for a sculpture by using something called an extruder, which essentially makes long strings similar to spaghetti noodles.
“It ended up looking like a pile of ramen noodles,” she said with a laugh.
When the exhibition ends, Morgun said she will return the sculptures to attendees to replace the missing item or give it a second life.
“While some of the items are silly, some of the things lost look kind of humorous, it’s about loss and it’s about grief,” she said, noting that participants often described items that marked an important time or relationship in their life represented.
“I have a feeling that people found it a precious grief experience, a way to say goodbye to the object but also look forward to a new life for this thing – or at least the memory of this thing – and the reflect on human relationships and connections that this object really represents. “
Imagined Objects runs from August 6th to September 26th at the Art Gallery of Regina.