2016, string, staples, papers, burn, photos, wire, blood, death papers, photographs, ink, thread, pencil, gouache, wax, hobby rocks, air, wire, 21 ½ x 7 ½ inches.
A Totem is a venerated emblem or symbol. Nostalgia is an indescribable sweet and melancholy feeling that one has about something in the past. This is a totem of keepsakes so that I can extol, mourn and remember. Even a photo of a shadow that touched someone I knew, could evoke a sense of that person and make me attached to that object. There are lots of bits and bobs in this artwork that have just a snap of a memory. On the top, there are faces from Chinese “death papers”. They have a little blood on them and some have wigs because even after you are dead your hair keeps growing. The bottom are my burned boobs that I made during graduate school. The middle contains photographs taken by my grandfather during WWII, photos taken by my Uncle Stanna, photos taken by me, old cigaret packets and berioska shop paper from Russia when I was 19 and more scraps of this and that. Everything is an homage, but to what? Are they an homage me, so that I know and remember myself and don’t fall apart? When my life passes, these become trash and if they do not, it is a fluke.