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Bird People (exhibition, 2004) and Other Birds (2004-2012)

What is memory if not aesthetic, if not a feeling associated with a disappearing image? It is emotion longing for lucidity. It is image taken to the brink of non-existence; the moment of vanishing. Memory does this even when it caged, like a bird.
Snapshots will 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 understand at what point snapshots release memory so that it can move freely again.
This group of works shows people in my snapshots turning into birds. Seeing them I think of Ovid and the power the Gods had to transform humans into plants or animals...a form of release.
Bird People (the work), 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 how their stories now coexist with my own. Fatima, in Fatima Flying, pre-figured her flight about fifty years ago; Zoo became the sky a few months ago. Turi with Wings resists flight, whereas Flying Zoo 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, the works describe how memory is negotiated into forms that describe the complexity of remembering, of constructing memory, of inheriting memory, of forgetting. Most importantly, they find a way to bring the past into the present continuum, into the now, to be experienced in the now. Metamorphosis drains the image of its specific burdens, giving it new life.
Maggie Cardelús (2004)