me, my Self & you

This installation visualises the search for the Self. Do we even have one?

The viewing boxes represent the inner ‘me’ of the artist. The visitor is confronted with one aspect per viewing box, which says something about the artist and more … Her confusion is neatly visualised by the cut-outs she has made. At this moment in time, the artist believes she needs ‘the other’ to even know she exists. The small mirrors inside the viewing boxes confronts the viewer with her/his own portrait, blending with the photographic art pieces inside the viewing boxes.

at the exhibition, opposite wall the viewing boxes
at the exhibition, self portrait ‘I am sincerely me’ – 80 x120 cm Canson Satin – and some of the artist’s brainstorms on paper roll

 

                                                                                                                                

audience and the viewing boxes, during exhibition in Antwerp

 

It’s an art installation that is presented using opposing walls; five viewing boxes on one wall and one large self-portrait on the other.

It all started with this one question: How do I know my Self isn’t someone else’s Self?

On one side the artist is confused about whether or not we have a Self and where it is located. On the other side she’s convinced we need the other to even experience we at least exist. These two thoughts and emotions are being visualised inside the viewing boxes. Squares of 4×4 cm and 3×3 cm have been cut out of the photographs inside the viewing boxes. Cubes of the same size, but alternating in height have been placed on the cut outs. On some of the cubes, the cut outs have been put back, on others small mirrors were placed. Puk’s confusion is thus portrayed by a photograph that is no longer flat and confuses the viewer on how to look at it. The small mirrors confront the viewer with parts of her/himself but also stand for interaction, Puk’s convinced that we need the other person to confirm our own existence.

Since the artist hasn’t found out if we have a Self and where it could be located, she chose to define herself using five images. The viewing boxes are symbolic to her inner world, that is somewhat transparent. The transparency was achieved by using a white, thin parachute fabric that provides the viewing box with defused light, even when the viewer put her/his head inside the viewing box. The artist has chosen to visualise her inner world because the search for the Self is intrinsically.

The five subjects that were chosen:

  • my eye, so called mirror to the soul; do you see my soul?
  • my neurons, I suspect a large part (if not all) of my Self is located somewhere inside my brain
  • my anger, I can’t stand injustice and I suspect this is due to my upbringing
  • the octopus, I have special relationship with this animal
  • my meditative side, I consciously choose to nourish my longing for peace, quietness and solitude

Although Puk is confused, she knows one thing for sure: she is sincerely herself at this moment. Which she portrays with her last photograph that is not inside a viewing box, because showing oneself is an expression that is directed outward. Offering her heart is inspired on one of the iconographic drawings by Cesare Ripa1, the icon ‘sincerity’.
She has chosen to use white body paint to show that she’s constantly changing, on all kinds of levels and to give the photograph a vulnerable look and feel, since exposing your Self makes you vulnerable in a sense. The reason she used double exposure is because of a certain duality: on one hand Puk loves and cherishes herself, her heart. On the other hand she wants to share/show herself to the world, with a watchful eye.