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© Elaine Newington Ward                            www.elainenewingtonward.com                  contact -enw@elainenewingtonward.com


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ARTIST STATEMENT - WAY OUT

In creating this piece of work it has been my objective to draw attention to the end-of-life and the taboos which surround it.


As an artist I see my role as one who poses questions. It is up to the viewer to provide the answers. I set the scene, then watch and listen.


In this installation, I have questioned the reality of the ordinary as a vehicle to highlight the chosen topic. Through the use of familiar items I have suggested a different viewpoint. Do we all see things as other people do? Are we aware of how other people view their own immortality? Does it concern us? Should we challenge the tacitly agreed taboo on discussion and ask the unknown occupant of this room how they feel about their  current life and approaching death? Should we be as comfortable discussing our own inevitable demise as we are acknowledging our achievements and successes?


Inspiration for this work came from several sources but principally my involvement as a regular visitor to a Nursing Home for the terminally ill. The disturbing sound track and film spring directly from these visits. The  thoughts of the elderly occupant have echoes of Alan Bennett’s Cream Cracker story although here they are expressed as silent artefacts.


I enjoy making ordinary items appear different in the style of Kendal Geers. I find that combining a group of these items into a room-shaped installation  is an excellent device for expressing my ideas. This can result in  a surreal experience with echoes of Paalen, Dali and  Magritte.


There is a passing reference to Damien Hirst in the pill-studded clock, which shows time as our ultimate asset, and to Tracy Emin in the duvet and the embroidered stain on the chair, with its embarrassingly obvious connection to very personal bodily functions.


Elaine Newington Ward    January 2009

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