Christine Mills - Bows (2017) Glycerine soap[/caption]
Recent Artist-in-Residence, Christine Mills, whose Tinkering with Strings project saw her developing new work in response to time spent in the workshops of the Making of Stringed Musical Instruments department at West Dean College, is currently exhibiting the latest phase of the research-driven work in New York City.
Working with Residency Unlimited, supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Christine has been working in New York for a month (and will be returning for another month next year), connecting with curators, exhibiting and being involved in public events around the show.
Curated by I. Önol, 'Cultivated Memory: Archaeologies of the Imagined' (Brooklyn's Peninsula Art Space until 26th November 2017) is "an experimental form of exhibition that brings together art and research. Dealing with construction of memory and suggesting possible imaginations of future remembrances, the works create strategies for archiving, casting, molding, recreating and manipulating the perception of things, events, and their forms of representations in relation to potential future memories. The collection of works interrogates the ways in which collective memory is formed, based on the speculative interpretation of objects, their traces, and visual appearances. The connection between the material, form and meaning is cross-examined by each artist, creating possibilities for alternative perceptions and memories through creative archival forms, probing the ways in which our perception of history and social memory is constructed."
Christine Mills examines media and forms that are distinctive and specific to the narrations that the artist creates through their work. In the work that has been produced for this exhibition, Mills is experimenting with new materials and their responses: a violin bow cast in soap, that suggests the delicacy of cleansing - the cleansing of emotions, in relation to friction, tension and memory. The object that is re-aestheticised through the transparent consistency of the soap is transformed into a delicate object indicating the elusive and temporal fabric of memory. The bow, that is originally to excite vibrations of the body of a violin (which the artist calls 'torso' - an external, emotional organ), also has the sturdy task of cleansing the surface of the gut strings. When it is turned into a cleansing tool (by association with the material 'soap'), it is taken out of its context and transformed into a fragile, ephemeral object.