Interview with Emilie Crewe
Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 » See more posts from From the Curatorial Fellows, Interviews, Studio Visits
Curatorial Fellow Lilly Hern-Fondation interviews Emilie Crewe about her piece Graft: Intervals and Burrowed Stories.
Lilly: How do you go about acquiring the multitude of objects you use in your work? (I am particularly curious about the abundance of keys and the dead bird in the wall.)
Emilie: I am constantly accumulating objects to use in my work. Many of them are found objects that have been discarded, others are purchased at thrift stores and junk shops, or on ebay or craigslist. The keys were found on ebay. I came across an old cigar box filled with a variety or keys and keychains. I wasn’t sure what would become of them at the time of purchase, but they’ve appeared in a few different works now. I’m attracted to the mysterious narrative that they possess as objects, especially because some are more antiquated and worn than others.
The dead bird in the jar was given to me by my advisor, Chris Sullivan. I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but apparently it’s been in that jar for 25 years. I was happy to add it to my collection of oddities; it fits well in the narrative. I have been doing a lot of research on birds and nests. The video component of my piece, Graft: Intervals and Burrowed Stories, features a bird-like character that is nesting inside of a dilapidated wall.
Lilly: Discarded fruit skin that is then sewn back together seems to be a reoccurring theme in your work that references human skin and membranes, wounds and processes of healing. Can you talk a little about these ideas and how they relate to your output as a whole?
Emilie: The fruit skins began as a very intuitive process. I’ve always tried to peel oranges and clementines in one spiral strip. I remember sitting at my desk one day, eating a clementine, and feeling as though I wanted to “repair” the fruit skin. I decided to sew the peel back together with cotton thread. I’ve been told that sometimes doctors practice sutures on orange peels because of the similarity they have to human skin. The act of repairing the fruit prompted me to start thinking about the concept of grafting, a very corporeal translation of ‘collage’. Ideas of healing and mending often come up in my work. The sewn rinds naturally fit into my narratives about reclaiming the discarded, or the forgotten. It is not my intention for objects or characters to transcend their original meaning. I’m attempting to magnify everyday qualities to create a more visceral experience for the viewer.