April 30, 2020

What role do objects play in the construction of our narratives and ourselves?

Méabh Breathnach


My work explores the idea of ‘evocative objects’; objects that house and (re)produce memories, contributing to our construction of the overarching narratives that make up our identities. By expanding theories of memory work into the sculptural field I am constructing an ‘autotopography’ of these objects: a spatial representation of important relations, emotional ties and past events that can resonate in both feeling and thinking ways ‘across the individual and the collective, the personal and the political’. I translate these everyday and domestic objects into ‘art objects’ by using processes, skills, materials and aesthetics traditionally respected and understood in the fine-art historical canon such as bronze sculpture, ceramics, plasterwork and framed wall pieces. However, certain aspects are subtly subverted: hair is used as a drawing material, dismembered body parts replace active components, grasp is made visible, the bronzes are casts of disregarded or intimate objects rather than things normally considered deserving of this kind of memorialising. By manipulating material and form in these ways I aim to engage both the heart and the intellect of viewers in reflecting upon the impact that objects and our relationships to them have in how we situate ourselves in the world.