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Rema Hort Mann Foundation

Teto Elsiddique

20th century visual theory has been haunted by the index—the index not only relates some kind referential relationship, it suggests a kind of connective tissue through history. Twisting a semiological framework within a more effective and phenomenological one. My work wrestles with the index. Whether in video, sculpture or painting, my pieces, composited from seemingly unified objects, resonate with traces of a still-trembling past, manifested in the jagged traces of leaves on canvas or in the epoxy shells rigidly molded around familiar items modeled and remade as dimensional casts or flat facsimiles. The object becomes both an offering and a refusal: an offering, insofar as each piece proposes a dialogue with the original; a refusal in its withdrawal from easy diagnosis.

Material and gestural aspects of Shooting, Balloon, Love scenes and For Every Drop of Blood use formal devices such as anthropomorphism, parody, circulation and repetition to invoke notions of objecthood, performativity, and the body. Glass Essayfor every drop of blood, and Epitaph are predicated on juxtaposing the language of mythological literature and news media with the language of visual culture. Within these parameters of written and oral narratives, I explore how culture is generated and passed down, how literary devices translate to visual devices and how past tropes translate to the present. At times, the combination of performative objects or enacting the inanimate tends to generate a certain type of absurdity in the work.

Perhaps, it is this element of play that seems to run through much of my work, that invites a peculiar form of engagement. This is not merely an aesthetic excavation of the past but a proposal to see the old anew – to challenge the ways of knowing associated with representation, with the inanimate and the seemingly apolitical. Reconfigured pasts and possible futures are drawn. It is in this improvisational, contingent space between the two that my work so singularly points.