49 to a new
May 13 - June 30, 2022
20’ x 12’ x 10’
Site: Halliday Home
Square: 15” square x 1.5”
Line: 139” x 4” x 1.5”
49 Porcelain Flower Vases, White Mums, Water, Magnets
Triangle: 19” Equal Lateral Triangle x 1”
Rectangle: 55” x 9” x 1”
49 Porcelain Candle Holders, Black Pillar Wax, Wicks, Magnets
Circle: 15” diameter x 1”
Oval: 65” x 27” x 1”
49 Porcelain Incense Burners, Chrysanthemum Incense Sticks, Magnets
This project is a reflection on the private altar and mourning rituals, expanding into an installation where objects are attended to daily to transform the composition. The installation is comprised of porcelain forms that function as 49 flower vases, 49 candle holders, and 49 incense burners. The imagery for this work begins as the three basic shapes in a state of rest, the square, the triangle, and the circle. The porcelain flower vase forms a square referencing a topographical landscape. Each day a piece is moved and set to the left of the square eventually forming a line referencing a mountainous landscape. This landscape is completed with white mums that eventually wither as the work changes for the duration of the installation. The porcelain candle holders are cast with black pillar wax over a clear glazed porcelain in the form of an equilateral triangle appearing to recede inward or expand outward. Each day a piece is removed from the whole and placed in a vertical composition below, and when lit, the wax melts resembling molten lava. The porcelain incense burners form a circle referencing rippling water. Each day, a piece is moved and set to the right of the circle and incense sticks are inserted into the porcelain form and burned, leaving a patina on the bare porcelain and the wall to create imagery of the sky at dusk. Over the course of 49 days this installation transports the viewer from one place to another.
In Buddhist belief, the spirit wanders the dark moving to a new place every 7 days and on the 49th day a service is held to mark the spirit’s new resting place. At the person’s bedside are an arrangement of flowers, a candle, and the burning of incense. The source for this work stems from my observations of my recently deceased grandmother, who up until her 90’s, visited my grandfather every morning through daily prayer. A prayer involving lighting a candle, burning incense, and arranging fresh flowers at her bedside altar. Her dedication to belief makes me believe that her process transcends habit into ritual, and ritual into truth.