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Matthew Dehaemers
Salina Arts Center Commission

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Wood Sculpture

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Awarded Grant Projects
Manna Exhibition

Avenue of the Arts 2003

Salina Arts Center    Memory Exhibition 2004

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E-mail:  madartist7@yahoo.com

 

 


Salina Kansas

Memory Exhibition 2004
"Significance of the Moment"

(Click on thumbnails for larger view)
 

The piece reflects on powerful memories associated with individuals recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.  Viewers have the opportunity to interact by being able to write a memory and place it in the envelopes within the drawer.  These memories will be shared with other participants.  A 22 minute video explores the memories of a dozen recently diagnosed individuals.

Read More Below

Materials: Laminated plywood, LCD video screen,
aluminum fabricated drawer and white / off-white envelopes


Matthew Dehaemers
9322 Pawnee Lane
Leawood, Kansas 66206
(913) 449-8450
madartist7@yahoo.com
 

Significance of the Moment

Originally commissioned by the Salina Arts Center

Director: Saralynn Hardy Reece

The piece is constructed out of approximately 72 Laminations (glued up) half inch thick by 4 feet by 4feet pieces of plywood.  Then I carved and sanded it into the large head form, which is nearly 4 feet tall.  Inside the forehead is a 22-minute video in which I interviewed a dozen or so recently diagnosed individuals about a memory(s) or story they would like to share from their life.  The video continuously dissolves from one individuals face to another’s in which you hear parts of each persons shared story usually coming back to them a time or two.  The video plays continuously.  The screen is a 7-inch LCD screen.  Many artist use large video projections.  Having the video small in the forehead allows for more of an intimate viewing and draws people in closure encouraging them to engage with the piece.    On the backside of the head is a 10-foot long drawer that cantilevers out the back off the head (no support underneath it).  The drawer if fabricated out of aluminum.  On the end of the drawer is a piece plywood shaped as part of the head with a filing cabinet handle on it.  The 10 foot long drawer is filled with 1500 white and off-white envelopes, each stuffed with one sheet of paper.  Viewers have the opportunity to interact with this part of the piece.  The have the opportunity to place a small donation in a table size box near the piece and then select an envelope out of the drawer.  They can think of an important memory/story from their life about certain person or event and write it on the enclosed paper.  When done they can re-file it back in the drawer.  Others have the opportunity to read what others have shared.  All donations will go directly to fund Alzheimer’s' research.  Intermingled among these envelopes are a series of two dozen tabbed cards.  Individuals have the opportunity to pull these cards and read the various powerful quotes on them about memory, Alzheimer's, as well as statistics about the disease.  In my work I am always trying to engage the viewer in away that allows them to participate in the piece so that they can walk away with more than just an experience of viewing it but being able to touch it and add something to the piece--manipulating it while gaining a new awareness--a new perspective on the subject.  My grandmother who passed away over two years ago inspired my piece.  She had dementia the last few years of her life.  Prior to that she lived a very long life…she was a woman full of energy and vitality.  Specifically I remembered times I spent with her in those last few years when she would recount these very precise and particular memories of the two of us together.  She would recount perfectly every detail and I would on occasion hear the same story weeks later.  But she would recall these wonderful moments regarding both of us but maybe not fully remembering or identify who I was when see would tell the story.  This multi-media interactive sculpture installation is meant to look at a small but powerfully positive spot despite the disease of dementia and specifically its derivative of Alzheimer's disease--That despite these disease that erode the mind and brain their are certain memories that even those individuals manage to hold on to and recount for a long time because for one reason or another they are that powerful of moments no matter how big or small.  The ten foot long drawer creates this wonderful exaggeration as it extends unsupported out ten feet in space only being anchored by the head that it is attached to.  I wanted to draw an obvious comparison between the smallness of our own physical head and the vast storehouse of our mind.  If we had to fill a drawer with all the memories from our very own life how long would that be physically measured?  Would it be infinite?  The plywood was chosen because as you carve it, it reveals ring patterns around the features of the face, following the contours of the face.  These rings symbolically represents the ring patterns that are revealed when a tree is cut down and one observes its trunk.  The rings are the history of that tree--the history of that trees memory...as each of us has our own history and memory.