The Living Swamp
4th – 19th April 2009
Vasilis Chamam, Nicole Mollett, Abbi Torrance, Paul Westcombe, Duncan Ward
The swamp in its various metaphors, is the place where human projects run into difficulties. It stands for all that is unproductive, hostile, troubling, stagnant, and obscure. It is inhospitable, sunken and opaque. But ask any naturalist who has studied the habitat and they will tell you that the swamp is in fact constantly changing, rich in diversity, teeming with life. They will tell you that it is possible to love a swamp.
The swamp is where actions become bogged down, where our best laid plans peter out and come to nothing. It is where the interlect, too, becomes confused, muddied, hopelessly mired. It represents what is unknowable or unattainable, what cannot be grasped.
The unconscious may be envisaged as a swamp, a vast picture store, source of all imagery. This, of course, includes all of our darkest imaginings, all that convention and self-censorship has buries or hidden. Monsters emerge from the swamp.
The swamp tends towards formlessness, is resistent to shapes and structures. Hierarchies dissolve in it. It is a place of undoing and devouring.
The landscape of the swamp is not one to be strolled through; it is not a place for promenades. It is a visceral landscape, it has to be touched, it doesn’t stand back to let itself be admired, it invites being fallen into and appreciated with the whole tumble-tail body. Only up close, on our bellies, can we unpick the secrets of the swamp.
This project will be exhibited at the Quartair gallery in Holland.
Quartair Contemporary Art Initiatives, Bilderdijkstraat141, The Hague