Sandra Birman's art deals with the issue of identity and the traps of memory, through paintings and reproductions of countryside, pastoral and mythological landscapes in 'Gobelin' tapestry and 'Toile Jouy' fabrics. How the production of patterns on fabrics influenced the aesthetic taste of generations and the relationship with the foundations of certain cultural memories is her main interest. When plastically reconstructs - through the fragmentation of landscape scenes - a new visual artistic environment, future visual memories are generated and inserted in the cultural and aesthetic environment of a society. The reproduction of landscapes acts in the construction of pictorial memories in a cultural society, creating links in the relationships between art, landscape and memory. Textile patterning is an approach of maps, scenes, routes, streets, squares, territories, bringing the value of the house, which is what we are all going through now. The general pattern of upholstery and curtains, as complex as a tapestry, full of threads, reminds us of belonging. The fabrics demonstrate a duality between cocoons and abysses. Cocoon refers to the inner and outer abyss, a pulsar that alternates between them. What does this expansion of terrain mean and which world is housed in this space?
Are our memories of ancient landscapes partly invented? As the artist cuts out the landscape, she paints, digitizes, prints, also replicates and reproduces a memory, transforming the original landscape. In his artistic work, the layers and superimpositions of matter are present, the paths built with the topstitched lines or, due to their absence, become thick. They reveal continents, street maps in half medieval layouts, things from the seas and lands, containing affliction. Contrasting with the art of fabrics, which are so placid, it is as if they had, between the lines, an inside-out approach. The agglomeration of forms and spaces proposes a possible new territory free from the historical impregnation of the print, which in turn narrates episodes of European conquests. In this current circumstance, where there is a global mourning related to the pandemic, the limits have become borders and these same limits seem to contain, to concentrate the structure, to join its pieces in a corporeal organization that brings a feeling of interiority and intimacy. The concept of landscape is a different concept from the representation of nature. The representation of European paintings over the centuries, colonization, nature or landscape brings us to the question of how to deal visually, plastically, with the idea of nature versus landscape. Can the erasure of memories, the forgetting, provide an escape from human existential problems? The objective is to express the dynamics of beings and the psyche, this healthy search to make personal and artistic experience a construction of language, so that the artist has the opportunity to elaborate feelings, emotions and experiences in another way, with the intention of reaching to the other and be part of the culture. An elaboration determined by the subject, is the individuation process at the surface. Different from psychoanalysis, which seeks the individual's knowledge about himself and his experiences, so that he can exercise his life with a more autonomous conscience, artistic creation seeks to elaborate a plastic fact through the same experiences and feelings, but seeking a result that transcend self-knowledge. Because the artistic language manifests itself in the recognition of the other and its re-encounter with the culture of the time in which we live. The deconstruction of the landscape is the visual language that the artist finds to insert herself as an artist and transforming agent of the same culture that welcomes her. Rebuilding - through the fragmentation of landscape scenes - a particular visual context, is her motivation.
From the art book Pandemic Meetings and Reflections, Iole de Freitas and her 19 artists. Single edition, printed in 2021. - Spring 2020 - Lisbon
In ancient Greece, Lethe means “forgetting”.
In Greek mythology, Lethe is one of the sacred rivers of Hades.
Those who drank its water, or even just touched it,
they would experience the most complete oblivion.
- Landscapes in 'Gobelin' tapestry and 'Toile de Jouy' textiles.
My work relates to how the idyllic landscapes pictured in the 'Gobelin' and 'Toile de Jouy' - tapestries and textiles - are rooted in the human unconsciousness, being reproduced in textile media over the centuries.
The ancient sceneries conjure visual memories of invented landscapes which impacted the retention and construction of sociocultural symbologies. I appropriate and reinvent these images, cutting and painting them over. The resulting work resembles imaginary maps structured as baroque ornaments. The shapes represent a fragment, a serial element in the formation of a brand new landscape scene.
My artistic process reveals ideas of erasure, contamination and miscegenation. It's cyclical. Objects are reinvented and become raw materials again. By reconstructing a personal visual environment through the fragmentation of natural landscapes, I create links between perception, memory and art.
Sandra Birman, 2021