´In every new and shiny object of our age, and in every tiny and seemingly insignificant object of attention, I cannot help but see its erasure, or imagine its rusting, splintered, discarded husk decaying somewhere in the new future.’
– Brian Thill, Waste (2015)
In the exhibition Something to Grasp, Nothing to Hold, visual artist Suzanne Mooney explores fragmentary forms, objects in flux and the shifts that emerge between materiality and representation. She focuses on fragments in a transitional state, both whole and incomplete, man-made and naturally formed, vestiges of human waste and precious geological artefact.
In her series of unique photograms on view at Hippolyte Studio, enigmatic shapes hover with no clear markers to indicate scale, density or weight. Here, glass is subject, object and mean through which the work comes about. Each fragment set against a black void, bears a trace of its destruction – a glass vessels of sorts shaped by time and nature. Discarded once their function dissolves, the shards are leached, scared and dulled until sharp edges are rounded into smooth gem-like pebbles. A cycle symptomatic of mass-production, circulation and consumption of things.
Glass as a material is closely connected with photography, with precision optics of lenses, touch screen devices and an image support (glass-plate negatives). As a substance, glass affords durability and fragility, as well as transparency—it is typically used to look through rather than at. With Something to Grasp, Nothing to Hold, shards of glass become photographic negatives, projected directly onto the photographic paper. A camera-less process giving the fragment a quality of fading, evanescent materiality—they make their own image—they are echoes of the form.
A key starting point for Mooney’s work is Virginia Wool’s short story Solid Objects (1920) where she charts the protagonist’s gradual descent into an all-consuming obsession for unlikely objects. It presents a psychological clash between the trauma and confusion of the ‘real world’ and the allure and permanence offered by material things. Much like Woolf’s character, Mooney fixates on visually revealing what will always remain concealed and inaccessible. If objects are imbued with meaning, then these fragments speak of loss or things coming to an end, but with the potential for new beginnings.
Suzanne Mooney (b. 1976) is a visual artist, born in Ireland and currently based in Helsinki. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, London, her work has been shown in many international exhibitions, including A.I.R Gallery, NY (2018), Vitrine Gallery, Basel (2017), Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2018), Foxy Production, NY (2014), The Sunday Painter Gallery (2013) and Stephen Lawrence Gallery, London (2018) and Spike Island, Bristol (2012). Mooney also works as a lecture at the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki. She has previously held lecturer positions on in University of West England, Bristol; University of Wales, Newport; Camberwell College of Art, London and External Examiner at Sheffield Hallum University. www.suzannemooney.net
The exhibition has been kindly supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
Something to Grasp, Nothing to Hold
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
image: Suzanne Mooney, Something to Grasp, Nothing to Hold, 2016