Afterlife of a House (2019)
This installation was made in an abandoned and traditional Japanese house in rural Gunma Prefecture, Japan, for the Nakanojo Biennale. The work inhabits 4 rooms.
Afterlife of a House is a mixed media installation that includes found-object assemblage, archival photographs, collage, paper cutting and painting.
The work investigates imagined and actual place, and makes visual the unseen idea of human residue left in a space. The project is composed of and from the following bodies of work: Anachronisms, Shrines, Anthropomorphs (2016-2017), Interventions (2016-17).
It includes the construction of a bamboo forest in one of the rooms and outside the house.
Anachronisms symbolize the frayed stories and fragments of memory and dream that are caught and cluster in the floorboards, behind the walls, in the dusty rafters. These collaged anthropomorphic images are installed on stakes on low tables that represent the family that once lived and ate together there. The project integrates old photographs of houses that I mined from suitcases in my family home in Cape Town. The image of cameras is used throughout the show. It symbolizes the idea of capturing something fleeting, and the record of memory. It is also used somewhat ironically in a reflection of modern society and our obsession with documenting everything in a way that sometimes defies real connection.
The Shrines acknowledge the human conditions of longing, belonging, grief and jubilation in an invented text called Wordmaps, and offerings are made to the ancestors with rice in baby shoes. I use baby shoes in my work to represent the next generations.
The exploration for this work draws from experience of the abandoned house in Isama and from ideas and research of the home in Berlin from which my Jewish grandmother was forced to flee as a girl in 1938.