Photo Essay

"From Fieldwork to Exhibition"

For this project I make art to explore practices of science and scholarship through art. I find new ways of working with and associating materials by shifting among field whose methods and materials have become second nature to me. This creates a critical distance and research process that while art-based is quite anthropological.

I first developed this line of research at an archeological museum, the Allard Pierson Museum of Mediterranean antiquities in 2014.  "Gather Wood, Gather Words, what goes up in Smoke,"  shown above is composed of strips of peer/wood lashed together at the waist. The shape recalls a woman, a bundle of wood  or wheat; when axes are added to the shape, it becomes the fascia, a  symbol of Roman power and justice.  The "wood" strips are printed with the words  "gather wood, gather words" in the languages and scrips of the region. The texts below each of them play on  museum conventions of labeling to comment on the day to day work that is never recorded, but "goes up in smoke."

 

In 2016-17 I did fieldwork at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, a residential research institute for advanced study. Working among scholars was an occasion for self reflection, sometimes with a touch of critical humor: the detail below from "Spazieren Gehen" came to me as I pondered the kinds of accounting demanded of the increasingly corporatized, "publish or perish" academy. During that year in the field I worked a lot with what I call "almost" writing that is also prominent in that work inspired by scholarly conversations during spring walks.

 "Spazieren Gehen," Going for a Stroll, 2017

Acrylic, tissue paper and ink on linen

"Bibliography", 2017

Vellum, ink and scotch tape

Photograph by Claudia Englholm-Castrone

"Cappuccino," 2017

Tissues Paper, Printing Paper, Coffee, ink. Photo by Claudia Englholm-Castrone

 © 2020 by Susan Ossman

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey Vimeo Icon