Neil Emmerson

inhabit me (like a memory)

inhabit me (like a memory) by Neil Emmerson

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inhabit me (like a memory) manifests Emmerson’s ongoing pursuit of experimentation with print making as a medium operating in two and three dimensions that addresses the phenomenon and politics of the gay male body. The installation comprises a formative point in his practice, in which his interest in the Orient and the ability for print imagery to manipulate its exhibition space is foregrounded. Blurring the boundaries between print, minimal sculpture, installation and architecture, the work typifies Emmerson’s interest in unsettling the status quo as well as exploring ways that the body, love and beauty are made present.

In contemporary art terms, the installation has connections to minimalism and post-minimal sculpture. Emmerson has played with Michael Fried’s concept of theatricality raised in regard to minimal sculpture – the stage like presence of the elements that imbue a work with anthropomorphism. Emmerson has employed form, colour and design to highlight such associations in the process of investigating how image and form can affect the subjectivity of the viewer.

The work was initially seen in a darkened, magenta-lit space so that the design on the panels was only gradually discernable. The central imagery on each panel connotes designs from playing cards (hearts and spades) amongst spirals suggesting DNA, ribbons and organs. The delicate tracery in the background amplifying the bodily overtones was informed by a Turkish ceramic tile pattern. Once within the space of Inhabit me (like a memory) the viewer is symbolically situated inside one or more bodies, visceral interactions and resulting memories. The durational experience points to the making and remaking of subjectivity over time.

Title
inhabit me (like a memory)
Artist/creator
Production date
1993
Medium
grisaille, multiple-colour stone lithography, pearlescent nail polish on paper adhered to ply wood panels with synthetic polymer paint, wood and steel rod hinges
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 2017
Accession no
2017/23
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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