Dimensions: 182 x 210 cm
Media: canvas, thread, 35mm photographic transfers.
Intrapersonal was made within the context of an Honours undergraduate degree which centred around concurrent studio and theoretical research. Notions of the occult have been used as a framework through which to understand the nature of hiding and revealing knowledge through one’s own work, research and personal growth. This is in reference to the Latin ‘occultus,’ referring to knowledge of the hidden as opposed to the measurable or quantifiable.
Of all occulted practices, alchemy in particular is a longstanding one steeped in obscurantism but whose practitioners are characterised by their dogged pursual of revealing material knowledge which is as of yet unknown. This is usually accomplished through a series of steps or stages, the most well known of these being the twelve stages of the alchemical Great Work- more commonly referred to as the transmutation of lead into gold. In this process, the same mindset as the physical is applied to the metaphysical and the spiritual; for how can the alchemist achieve perfection in their work without first transforming themselves?
Intrapersonal additionally touches upon gendered notions of photography and textile theory and histories, as well as attitudes towards representational technology and the idea of rewriting the self through image and object narrative.
The following is a short reworked excerpt taken from the artist’s research paper, titled ‘As Above, So Below: Traversing the Self Through Images, Objects and Alchemy’:
My Honours artwork and written paper address seeing and touching, knowledge and compulsive destruction of information, expression and repression. Each thematic aspect reflects the ways in which the microcosmic mirrors the macrocosmic within everything…The purpose of Intrapersonal is to navigate and better understand the self (through the framework of alchemical theory). Here, in this place, at this time, I critically examine my role as an artist, and the role of the artist in the context of research by projecting myself onto the fictional figure of the alchemist.
The artist/alchemist is always working towards the opus.
The artist’s/alchemist’s goal is to continuously learn, improve and thus grow.
The artist/alchemist strives to wrest that which they seek from the depths of the material.
Photography by Kim Nguyen.