Fragile and exquisite, self-contained and safe. Louise Richardson’s work is absorbed with process; the putting on and taking off of things, of discovery and investigation. From a stock of hoarded goods the artist builds a library of resources to draw from.
“Floating Memory uses hand stitching as a metaphor of time, which binds together pieces of my family’s history. Through painstaking hand stitching, each unique, delicate handkerchief is connected to the next, creating a map of memory. The new seams joining each of the 40 aged, delicate handkerchiefs mirror their detailed embroidered edging, which were hand sewn by my grandmother. Natural holes in the fabric from the wear of time serve as metaphors for memory and the little scars accumulated over a lifetime. Billowing in the soft breeze like a floating wave, the handkerchief tapestry symbolizes the fragile and ephemeral existence of memory.”
In ‘Atrabiliarios’ Salcedo evokes absence and loss by using materials and processes that locate memory in the body. The viewer’s response is, in turn, emotional, even visceral, rather than purely intellectual. Niches cut into the plaster wall contain shoes as relics or attributes of lost people, donated by the families of those who have disappeared. Shoes are particularly personal items as they carry the imprint of our body more than any other item of clothing. She then sealed the niches with a membrane of cow bladder, which she literally sutured into the plaster of the wall as if picturing the literal process of internalised bodily memory. Barely visible through the animal skin membrane, the shoes are a haunting evocation of their absent owners and inevitably recall the grizzly souvenirs of Nazi death camps.