Erica Grimm : Artist Statement

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The work in this exhibition continues Erica’s long-standing interest in issues of embodiment and liminality but combines these abiding interests with a consideration of textuality, issues of being and how meaning is negotiated in the beginning of the 21st Century.

A Trace of a Difference draws on a textual conversation between Heiddegger, Derrida and Rilke  regarding “being”.  The image layers texts (continuing in the tradition of Saussure’s linguistic metaphor, the word text does not refer only to written / published words on pages but also to images, signs, maps, rituals or even clothes); suspended figures, ECG readings, words from Heiddeger, Derrida, and Rilke and layers of wax- each are meaning making texts that visually interact- they converse, collide and obscure each other.  Meaning emerges and is submerged.

In Being and Time Heidegger writes that the presence of beings tend to dissolve into the transparency of their usefulness.  Being is crossed out by technology’s reduction of embodied persons into merely useful instrumental tools. Rilke tells a similar tale albeit in a poetic language.   Heidegger actually crosses out the word Being leaving it visible beneath the mark.   For Derrida, being is erased but it does not actually disappear.  It is “one side of a difference – the mark of deletion is itself a trace… that joins and separates this mark and what it crosses out”.  Signs and texts are joined and separated while the figure remains suspended in a liminal moment.

In Walking the Tightrope the body itself is a potent signifier, as are materials (steel, wax, gold and pigment) and each are coded with meaning. PET (positron emission tomography scans), MRI scans, topographical, aerial and depth maps, and stock market texts, are also signifiers coded with various levels of meaning.

In Water; Fire; Earth these various signifiers of meaning collide in Lacanian chains of signifiers.  Another series small 5? texts are mounted on magnetic sheeting and are arranged like a crossword puzzle referring to Wittgensteinian word games. Due to the magnetic backing material texts can be reorganized by viewers to create their own sequence of meaning-making signifiers.  “Clouds of linguistic combinations” and [disconnected] collisions between innumerable language games …still somehow are capable of making meaning.   Meaning emerges despite a seeming chaos or lack of rational connections between languages or signs.   Against all odds Aha!s still happen and being falls back into place, changed, erased, no doubt; merely a fragile trace.

Ich Iese es heraus as deinem Wort

I read in there in your every word,
in the story of the gestures
with which your hands cupped themselves
around our becoming-limiting, warm.

You said live out loud, and die you said lightly,
And over and over again you said be.

But before the first death came murder.
A fracture broke across the rings you’d ripened.
A screaming shattered the voices

that had just come together to speak you,
to make of you a bridge
over the chasm of everything.

And what they have stammered ever since
are fragments
of your ancient name.