The disconsolation of art

February - March 2011

The disconsolation of art

These works are primarily about the experience of disconsolation and disappointment after an extended period of expectation. They have grown out of an interest in the concept of cultural memory and how this changes the way that we view things and our expectations of the viewing experience.

Expected memories is a phrase that I often use when I talk about this body of work. I want to highlight the disappointment that often contrasts with the sense of wonder when we see things that we know are important on a historical and cultural level. The experience of being overpowered by art for example. There is a disorder known as the “Stendhal Syndrome”, or the, “Florence Syndrome”, which describes the experience some people have of being overwhelmed by great art. Symptoms that include a racing heart, dizziness, and, in some cases, hallucinations.

Then, conversely, there is the example of “Paris Syndrome” a mental conditions that is reported among, predominantly, Japanese tourists visiting, of course, Paris. It is believed to be caused by a number of things, such as problems with translating cultural experiences and norms. Among the believed cause is also an idealised expectation of Paris, and the difficulty that people have in reconciling the ideal with the reality.

Today, with increasing access to technology, and the almost universal access to images of places and objects, what is going to happen to our expectations, and also, the formation and ongoing development of our memories?

All images are 6 x 4.5 cm c type hand printed contact prints.

February - March 2011