Artist: Sári Ember
Title: They’re all poses, adequate to different ends*
Curator: Borbála Soós
Venue: Šopa Gallery
The content of this class shall be bodies, animate and inanimate…
– Yvonne Rainer, Lecture on Moving from Three Distributions
Our own bodies, which are primarily composed of water, elucidate the problem
of thinking about bodies in binaristic terms as either “natural” or “cultural.” We
are both materially and semiotically entwined with other bodies of water in a
gestating, differentiating and interpermeating relation.
– Astrida Neimais, Bodies of Water, Human Rights and the Hydrocommons
The river is my sister – I am its daughter.
It is my hands when I drink from it,
my own eye when I am weeping,
and my desire when I ache like a yucca bell
in the night. The river says, Open your mouth to me,
and I will make you more.
Because even a river can be lonely,
even a river can die of thirst.
I am both—the river and its vessel.
– Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poems
Sári Ember works with matter and materials as ways to relate to the world. At the core of her practice lies interrogating the metaphoric value of materials, both within their natural and cultural histories. While the objects in the exhibition may be inanimate, they certainly convey a sense of bodies. Ember often uses stories that are at once personal and universal. Her works carry strong symbolic values through the depiction of classic, archetypal scenes, including those of warming at the fire, bathing, or the tree of life, while the stylised characters bring a feeling of life and history to the objects.
The carefully hand-sculpted ceramic pieces create intimate scenes. They offer the potential of rituals and stories, or indeed one story told from different perspectives between the galleries. Meaning emerges between the tension of the two rooms, between beginning and end, between birth and death. The subtle differences that offer different iterations of certain images open up the potential for individual experiences. The objects take the visitors on a journey of discovery through the tactile details of the hand dyed silk works, wall reliefs, ceramics and table with cups. Through vessels and the idea of containment, Ember investigates the intimate correspondence between inside and outside, micro – and macrocosms, alluding to them as being analogous. The vessels serve as a reminder that food and water has flown through bodies, time and space and it holds the memory of each of them, creating connections between generations in circulation.
*the tile of the exhibition is based on a quote from the poem After All by John Koethe