Thursday, August 02, 2007

The (lack of) Power in Symbolism

I recently bit the (very hard) bullet and finally got Elisa two pieces of Pounamu.

Any form of carving - be it bone or jade - has always been something incrediably intimate for me. The idea of actually going through the process is intimidating on a variety of levels.

Traditionally speaking, it should be gifted and not bought for oneself. Thus the intimacy of 'you are the centre of my universe and here's a token to show that' is confronting.

Anyway.... I was thinking about it for a VERY long time and explored various traditional forms (korus, twists and other symbols).

From the intellectual point of view the twist said the most 'appropriate' thing but when I actually got to the act of seeking a specific piece I discovered that they all left me completely cold.

Whilst beautiful, they didn't say what I wanted to say in any way near the extent they should say it.

There is also this niggling thought that 'can I realistically appropriate this or that motif or am I just copping out?' It's a bit like using a poets words to say what you feel rather than expressing it yourself. Or using another language because it 'sounds better'.

As luck (I hate that word!) would have it I stumbled across two pieces in Burning Issues that spoke to me. They weren't just beautiful but they "felt right". The two together say a lot in a very short 'sentence' without me having to over dress them with a back story.

It all comes back to the referential. Ignorance vs knowledge and whatever power that takes away or even gives to an artwork.

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