MARILYN WALIGORE | ARTIST STATEMENT | UTOPIAN DILEMMA
I explore connections between photography and sculpture by investigating the object and its materiality, while commenting on the potential for recycling. Photography's role in fixing the object, in the generation of a record, becomes enlisted in this project, as I consider notions of permanence and the transitory, of value and waste. Aluminum forms are reclaimed to create a new sculptural structure, presented in these photographs and videos as an idealized, yet absurd comment on the possibilities for reuse.
I chose aluminum metal because it endures as a visible emblem of the traces of consumer products that mark our environment. I present these objects as larger than life-size. My reconfigured sculptures are bound by rubber bands and tape, which add tension and foreground their temporary or transitional status. The material characteristics of the aluminum itself, which both resists and allows folding and bending, guide the creation of these forms. The emphasis on detail invites visual scrutiny, as I elevate these objects, underscoring the potential of the material, which can be recast, transformed into something new. By using a high resolution medium format digital back on a view camera with full movements and illumination provided by studio lighting, my practice parallels that found in commercial photography, with an emphasis on description, on rendering the object as something unique, to be desired.
As we confront our contemporary existence, our desire for convenience and embrace of consumerism, we find ourselves faced with a Utopian Dilemma. The euphoria of modernism, with its promise of an elevated standard of living achieved through the availability of affordable mass-produced goods, has been replaced by an anxiety aligned with 21st century concerns regarding sustainability. We consider Utopia to be an idyllic place: freedom from want, in a land of plenty. I strive to transform the discarded by inverting our value system, inspired by Thomas More's 16th century story of Utopia. Responding to Thomas More's text, media scholar Stephen Duncombe notes that Utopia (translated as "No Place") "is the world turned upside down," where gold becomes worthless (40). I turn trash into treasure, with the hope to prompt changes in social behavior.
Duncombe, Stephen. "Imagining No-Place: The Subversive Mechanics of Utopia." Utopia & Contemporary Art. Eds. Christian Gether, Stine Hoholt, and Marie Laurberg. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012. 39-46.Print.
All images, texts, and audio copyright Marilyn Waligore, 2018. All rights reserved.