If We Were Houses is a forthcoming exhibition about the built dwelling as a metaphor for self.
In late 2017, I attended a talk by artist Helen Scalway who put forward the following proposal, open to all attending the meeting.
`A metaphor for self’, resonated with other work I was undertaking and offered an interesting direction in which to take the work. It also provided the opportunity to exhibit with a group who were investigating the representation of self in a non-traditional way. The exhibition title became `If We Were Houses’.
The built dwelling or built structure as a metaphor for the self – Helen Scalway
What is the potential in the idea of the built dwelling or built structure as a metaphor for the self? In western culture, the metaphor of the house to evoke the human psyche has been persistent, ever since the psychologist C. G. Jung suggested it in the early twentieth century. For me as a visual artist, it has meant exploring those aspects of built structure which are complex, overlapping and ambiguous: there may be facades, but behind these are all kinds of different rooms, stairs and corridors, ways around and through, areas revealed and areas concealed. There is always the potential for endlessly more.
I would like to open this up as a means of portraiture which has the potential to go far beyond the literal depiction of a person or group of people, revealing as such depictions can be. Having made work over the last two years on this theme of a built structure as a metaphor for the self, I have come to understand that there could be a means here of understanding more about a self, and further than this, not just oneself in isolation. Because, if we put different people’s visual explorations of the theme into physical proximity, we might see further into the different kinds of baggage – cultural and personal – we are bringing together when we make a new acquaintance, or meet a workmate, or an old friend, a stranger or a spouse. We might see a little further into some of the complexities – both for positive and sometimes difficult outcomes – within such relationships.
If We Were Houses will be at 5th Base Gallery, London from 5th to 8th July 2018.