Emily Connell – Ceramic Sculptures

Emily Connell - Ceramic Sculptures

Emily Connell – Ceramic Sculptures

“The progressive secularization of modern man has altered the content of his spiritual life, but not broken the mould of his imagination; a huge residue of mythology lingers in the zones that have escaped regimentation.” – Mircea Eliade, Images et symbols, Paris 1952

The mysticisms I experienced as a child at Catholic school still hold a great power over me, influencing my art. I make my work in two stages. First I create objects inspired from religion, and configure them into a scene. Next I use my body to create a context and purpose for the objects. By recording these symbolic interactions through the lens of the camera I produce photographs and video to display alongside my objects. The combination of photographs and relics create a narrative while also heightening the mystery of spiritual purpose.

Using a found vade mecum, or a book of reference (encyclopedia, Bible, dictionary), I cover it, page-by-page, in slip. Firing the book in a kiln transforms it into a reliquary shell, containing the ashes of the book within. Ensuring stability for the delicate book I encase it with chalky plaster. I then use a masonry-saw to cut the piece, revealing the cross section of the ceramic pages.

These objects become a part of of my pseudo-ritual interaction that I perform and document. The use of my body blurs the separation of roles in religious practice, from the sacred leader and practitioner/parishioner, all the way to that of the cynic.