Artist Fiona Pardington talks about her work Still Life with Mussel Spat, My Name Sigil Crystals and Wolf Moon Holy Water, Ripiro Beach 2013 which features in the exhibition Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation, on show at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from 5 March – 19 June 2016.
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Audio and transcripts available in English and Mandarin.
Video available in New Zealand Sign Language.
Audio transcript (English)
I think its best to understand my still-life photographs as small alters or Tu Ahu. A table top is place for concentration and you could call it ritual, but it’s also just the thing we do what we are focussing or decorating or creating a little space for ourselves in somewhere where we work – a studio I suppose in my case or maybe your lounge or your bedroom - something that helps focus your mind or strengthen you.
My still life activities mean that I have to collect and I have to look very hard and I have to intensely think about objects for long periods of time and sometimes just find things and use them immediately, trying to find a balance. Certainly, for me, these are all activated spaces and there’s a certain amount to ritual associated with the collection of water especially, because if you look at the fluids in these different bottles, some is seawater so I might collect seawater on an outgoing tide which is something for getting rid of certain energies or certain things you would like out of your life, or you could collect seawater on an incoming tide and bring things towards you.
Rainwater, I collect a lot of that. If you collect rainwater in thunderstorms for instance, that’s very powerful water and if you use the water you collect and then leave the water out in the moonlight, every moon, every month has something associated with it like a wolf or in the spring it might be wheat, it depends on whether you’re talking about the people in western places or Indians they’ve all got different aspects that they relate to certain full moons.
So this water was collected during the wolf moon and a lot of people would leave out water or maybe their jewellery or something that they feel needs cleaning and let the moonlight do it. So all these things come together for me, even when you’re looking at photographs of mine that have got flowers in vases, you can be quite sure that the water comes from a specific place and its been collected at a certain time or maybe form a creek that has a name a family name associated with it for me or is from a lake or a river that has some special meaning to me.
Audio transcript (Mandarin)