Art History 2 – (In) Voluntary Memories

The exhibition (In)Voluntary Memories was presented at Bret Llewellyn Gallery on February 23rd. The art was a showcase of work by Alysia Kaplan and was some of her more recent works. Alysia wanted to create a story through images. She would send friends pictures and ask for a reaction back from them to help her start a new story. Most times her friends would send her a memory of a time that they had shared together. She used this as inspiration for her exhibition, putting images together to help form a story. Her overall goal is to create works that allow those that view them to see a story of their own. Many times while Alysia is creating her art she does not realize what the story is until the piece is finished.She believes that art, her work included, is always changing and that with art there is never a finite moment. She uses old photographic and video techniques to help her create the story she sees. In a film of hers she uses clips from 6 or 7 different films to try and create a story out of them. Nostalgia is a heavy inspiration for Alysia, it is what helped her to choose her medium which in turn helps to give message. Her images have a faded look to them as though they were memories long forgotten. She positions her images differently each time so to tell a new story, it is like misremembering something, or creating a new truth to a story that you once knew.

Alysia’s work was very effective when dealing with memories and stories. She created art that not only had a specific narrative to her but also one for the viewer. Using the viewers mind as a canvas to elicit a reaction from them.  I enjoyed watching the movie that she had presented to us that had several films combined into one. Though they were different film clips she was able to create a cohesive story that changed in my mind every time I watched it. Never once did the same story appear in my head after I had fitted the pieces together. With no sound and not allowing the clips to play longer than  they should, Alysia is able to let the viewer interpret the story that is being created in this video.  She never gives a true definitive story for her works hoping that the viewers would create them using their own minds.

Alysia’s art is a great example of what post-modernism is all about. It focuses on not having a true story but having the audience create one themselves. The pictures and film remind Alysia of her mother and the memories she has shared with her friends. Even though they remind her of this it does not mean that this is what these pieces mean. Post-modernism refuses to accept the idea of one truth being all there is and instead focuses on things that are more subjective. The art in (In)Voluntary Memories is heavily inspired by artists such as Joseph Kosuth and the film maker Norman McLaren.

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