Galerie Alexandra Saheb
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What Goes On Within The Veil?

This series of works deals with vessels, such as cups, plates, glasses, light-bulbs and teapots, that got broken by accident. Instead of throwing them away I tried to put them in a preserved condition. There are always certain occasions and causes for breaking a dish. They can be objectively looked at when it is obvious how the dish got broken. The dish is taken from the place where it has fallen apart and is wrapped and "sheltered" in a thin transparent cloth. In this state the broken piece appears as something valuable that has survived its own breakage. The seams on the covering cloth refer to the points of fracture on the vessels. They represent "wounds" which I recognize after wrapping the once broken and then repaired vessel. The places where the pieces are taped together - the repaired points of fracture - are in themselves not beautiful. I pass a white shiny silk thread through the wrapping where the points of fracture are and this way the "wounds" are given a gleam so that the broken object achieves a condition of beauty. Therefore the embroidery represents in this series of works the line of fracture and also a restoring of the image that was once broken.

In Japan we had the tradition of repairing dishes with Japanese lacquer and golden foil -Japanese lacquer as glue, golden foil as color - this way dishes could be passed through several generations. The generation of my grandmother still used these kind of old dishes. After the Second World War and the impact of mass production, porcelain and glass vessels became cheaper. As more cheap vessels were on the market, less respect was awarded
to towards the old tradition of repairing, so that this technique was almost forgotten. Nowadays it is only used in restoring old furniture. I have always felt strange in the current situation of throwing things quickly away. This feeling was one of my motives in creating this series of works.

All the vessels which I have repaired in Berlin are all second hand articles bought here. They belonged to other people who had used them carefully but who had had to sell them for different reasons. They are important objects with their own history. Such things I can not throw away even when one of my guests breaks a dish by accident or when it falls down from the strongly shaking washing machine. I could use them again if I would use the old Japanese technique to repair them with Japanese lack and golden foil.
But I hesitate to use modern chemical adhesive for dishes, which
are used for eating. Also I doubt the usefulness of dishes, which have been repaired with such adhesive. Therefore the taped vessel is only in a temporary condition. Fragments of the tea-cup and a saucer, which have both fallen down from the washing machine were temporarily taped together and wrapped with a semi-transparent cloth. This wrapped cup reminds me of the strong movements of my washing machine. One plate that broke when a
friend of mine let a heavy fork fall on it was also repaired.

Theremembrance of the tragic moment which cannot be reversed is not the mainissue for me, much more important for me is that the plate is still treated with respect after this occasion by carefully veiling and embroidering the object.
The cover out of the semi-transparent cloth gives the vessel a "frame" like a frame around a painting- it demarcates it from the outside world. The covering points out that the dish is no longer used for serving food and that the cover contains something that should be looked at. The seams with white shiny silk threads let the viewer recognize that it is not meant to be a present, which is supposed to be opened, but that this is a cover, which contains a tragic moment that must not be touched violently. The half transparent veil, which covers the vessel requires from the viewer to look attentively at what is inside the wrapping.

To Remember Grandmother’s House Better

It is the room of my grandmother, which doesn't exist for a long time. Only a few times I visited this room. Therefore my own memories where not sufficient to realize this project. My grandmother died two years ago so I could not ask her about the room. Therefore I went to my other family members who knew the room quite well and asked them to recall the room. I visited them, spoke with them and asked them to draw the room from memory. It seemed to be easier for them to remember the room when they sat together and when they where asked questions.

The room, which is presented in this piece is the living room of a house in which my grandmother lived until seven years ago. I have chosen this room because it is the part of the house, which has left the strongest memories in me. I was always on the same spot at the table. The composition of the work corresponds with the view I had from this position. Behind me when I was sitting there at the table was a small garden, which is not visible in this picture.
During the conversation with my family I found out that this wooden house had been used originally as a tea-house by a rich family before my grandmother moved in. To make it more comfortable the house got renovated and a few rooms were added (e.g. one room for the piano and one bathroom). Eight years ago the house got sold because the oldest son of my grandmother (my uncle) had decided to build a house close by in which his family lived together with her. The old house was pulled down because they thought it would be easier to sell the property without the old house attached. The question that I ask myself every time I produce a piece of art is
how I can adjust my work to the room in which it will be exhibited. This time everything was drawn life-size. This way the past situation can become a precise realization in front of my eyes.

One day as I child I was told that my eyes were not able to view
the entire room equally and that I was only able to focus on one central point in my field of vision. Ever since then I am dismayed by the fact that I do not see most, which is not in my field of vision. It was a big relief for me when I found out during the process of this work that things, which I did not notice then, could be complemented with the help of the memory of other people. Through the time-intensive work on this piece I respectfully used the memories of my family, while at the same time I preserved and built on the impressions unforgettable in my head.

Galerie Alexandra Saheb