Objects that we own mark time and remind us of events. They jog our memory and embody emotion. They are artifacts of our personal archeology. Though they are visibly around us, our relationship to them is often very private. Over the years millions of objects pass through our hands having been bought, stolen, found, given, or lost. Just as the layers of rock and mineral in the earth are evidence of its creation and history, so these layers of objects are the evidence of a life lived. At the same time, objects often have a life and purpose beyond our ownership, which can speak to our sense of curiosity and wonder about the meaning and structure of the world around us.
A TWO PART PROJECT:
Collecting: The Delicacy and the Addiction, Part I (installation and performance)
Black Rocks, Pearl Buttons, Part II (installation and performance)
THE DELICACY AND ADDICTION
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, NYC
A day-long installation/performance for which I positioned a table at the entrance to the gallery with 20 of my collections in boxes of differing style and size. At the far end of the room was another table where I continuously unfolded and spread table clothes.
(Left) As we sorted through the collection of old photographs I told the story of how I found them in an old suitcase on the street packed with other keepsakes. The gallery visitor who had chosen the box recognized the street corner in Puerto Rico where her family lived and identified the details of a family celebration. Sometimes the conversations were private, sometimes crowds gathered to watch.
Three chairs were along the side wall with three books in which visitors were invited to write and draw: (Below Left)
Book 1 – Collections (something you collect).
Book 2 - Memories (someone you love and an object you associate with them).
Book 3 – Souvenirs (something you have purloined from a person you love.)
Inside a long, narrow coat closet facing the window I hung black dresses collected and used in my performance “To Us At Twilight”. Attached to these dresses were small tags with the names of all the women in my life, family and friends. Visitors were invited to make and add a tag with the name of a beloved woman friend or relative.
The event took place on the first day of fall, a harvesting of memories. It began in natural light and ended just after sunset in lamplight.
“Alyson Pou: The last of four site-specific projects takes place at Snug Harbor where, during the reception for a show of work by women sculptors, the unpredictable Pou will gather materials from the grounds and objects from her own collection, intimately displaying and sharing hundreds of specimens, talking all the while. It could be magic.”
-Village Voice Choice – Elizabeth Zimmer
BLACK ROCKS, PEARL BUTTONS
Threadwax Space, Performance Space 122, NYC
Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta
Black Rocks, Pearl Buttons is a performance and installation. It is a meditation on memory, nostalgia and the way the objects with which we surround our selves define our lives.
In the performance Pou makes use of accumulated objects and collections that are unpacked from a suitcase and shared with the audience. A steady monologue, sometimes relating to the objects sometimes not, weaves throughout.
The audience enters the performance space by walking through an installation combining found objects — natural and manufactured. Press Quote.
Threadwaxing Space Performance Gallery:
Performance Space 122 Performance Gallery:
Performance Space 122 Installation Gallery:
Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, Installation Gallery:
“…the laying out of vintage treasures and oddities scavenged in multiples- was complemented by a monologue. Its text had to do with things suggesting archaeological layers of time and – you go, girl – stealing items that belong to you in spirit if not in law. The visual art is, in a modest, delicate way, quite wonderful. Pou combines the products of nature and manufacture, weighting a pair of sheer black pantyhose with stones, studding another pair with a cluster of dried thistles at the crotch, ringing the elastic band of a beige thigh-high stocking with a crown of thorns. Other pieces expand on Pou’s fascination with garments, gloves, alligator claws, dolls, sets of shells and coins embalmed in mason jars. Pou has an eye, a palette, a consistent and coherent vision; her domain is worth a visit.”
-Tobi Tobias Village Voice
“In 1982 I visited my grandparents for Thanksgiving in the house which they lived in from the time I was a baby. My brother Jim and sister Adrienne were there, though we didn’t talk about it we all knew it was the last time we would be in the house together before my grandparents moved to a nursing home. I wanted some token by which to remember my grandmother, so very early on the morning of my departure I crept into the kitchen and I took these three silver spoons out of her kitchen drawer. They were odd and didn’t match anything else but she always preferred one of them to stir her tea at breakfast. They belonged to her grandmother — left over mismatched pieces from an old set of everyday silver.
Now, my grandmother was a modern person, she never kept old or mismatched stuff around. No old photos or furniture, she cleaned out her closet every year changing the carpet and furniture in her household every five years. So I knew she loved these spoons and I knew she probably would not give them to me. I also knew they would be lost in the move or thrown away in the division of spoils after her death. So, I took them without hesitation, out of that kitchen drawer on the morning of my departure. Later when my grandmother died my mother gave me one of her favorite bracelets. It is an object of great value. I cherish it, but the spoons I use everyday.”