in her own words…

October 31, 2011 Comments Off on in her own words…

In my work I court the impossible; I hold tight to a teetering edge. I am fascinated by what philosopher Drew Leder calls the null point—the place between—neither in nor out of the body’s acuity. I attempt to suspend time and extend the tipping point, the moment right before collapse, dangling, almost falling, almost overflowing. By reconfiguring the elements of setting, object and gesture in both performance and installation, I create familiar scenes unsettlingly skewed, evoking contemplation, peril, devotion or longing.

I find inspiration in my immediate surroundings: the place, the season, the remnants on hand. In fact, I am wooed by mundane, seemingly ordinary things and common, repetitive tasks. I sculpt space and material to create heightened sites for routine but exacting gestures, nudging oversized sculptural objects into ephemerality. In the piece, Prospect, for example, the space is defined by three tons of dirt in perfect minimalist mounds, and the rhythmic tick tock of a cuckoo clock. As the performer, dressed in a shade of saffron shared by inmates and monks, I set to sifting a single pile of dirt for five hours without interruption. The soil sculptures are made impermanent, almost insubstantial, by this act of displacement. The transformation of the physical material during the performance serves as both motive and metaphor for the transformation of my mental and emotional state. I conjure a kind of quiet alchemy by imprinting the space, moment by moment, hour after hour, with simple, ceaseless effort: sifting, licking, kissing, laughing. In my work, in every way, I seek the magic of being richly and intensely present.

–Laurel Jay Carpenter

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