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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R37W6773R
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Hide & Seek Open Access
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Sean Caulfield, Supervisor
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Hide and Seek is a children’s game. It can also be thought of more broadly as the act of concealment and of searching. The works in this exhibition ask viewers to consider the things from our past that we consciously and subconsciously hide as well as the objects and spaces in which we seek comfort and refuge.
Kerry H. Robinson and Cristyn Davies affirm that “hegemonic discourses of childhood position the child within institutionalised normative and regulatory practices that fix and universalise experiences of
childhood, neglecting the fluidity and multiplicity of children’s realities.” Through my use of stuffed animals, dolls, and blankets, I seek to address this “fluidity and multiplicity” of the childhood experience, acknowledging that it is more complicated than the idealized view.
Drawing on psychoanalytic theory, I consider these objects “transitional,” suggesting that they are items young children use as comforts during their transition into independent people. As embodiments of this transition, the blankets, dolls, and stuffed animals are disarticulated, combined, and recomposed in order to manifest the imperfect, disrupted, and complicated parts of this life-phase that are often overlooked in contemporary discourse. The hybrid beings that emerge in the work bring forth ideas about the transition that children are in and exemplify the anxiety of this life-phase. By staging these objects in empty spaces of darkness and bright light I am suggesting a vulnerable and exposed existence where they are suspended in space and time for examination.
Created primarily through photo-printmaking techniques that I allow to degrade throughout the printing process, much of the work in this exhibition references an early photographic era where images were at times coarse-grained, unpolished and therefore enigmatic. By allowing deterioration through the print process, the images in this exhibition are less clear, have a greater affective presence and reference the past as well as perhaps a broken sense of memory.
By staging obscure scenarios of objects floating in spaces and blanket forts in deep dark rooms I intend to evoke the tensions that lie between the perceived magic and anxiousness of the childhood experience. Informed by collections, ephemera, monsters, and memory, Hide and Seek is an exhibition that recalls the past through constructions in the present in order to understand the experience of growing up and more broadly living with anxiety in the world today.
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