As a material anthropologist my methodology involves the collation of object, image or cultural artifact accumulated by chance from our physical and conceptual environments; remnants of cloth, pieces of wood, weathered paint, scrap metal, chunks of stone and other re-purposed items; all of which are part of an ongoing inquiry into the life of materials over time. I proceed to gather, order and reconstruct these as vessels to be dis-played. Intermittently, freely painted and/or patterned repetitively to increase their sense of value and to form contemplative arrangements (of islands; islands within islands). Human life is presented through its very absence, and the Japanese notion of ‘mono no aware’ or ‘the pathos of things’ is a revelation. I am reflecting on our own individual condition and while salvaging, reshaping and reconstructing, I am developing the poetic encounter.
An event, that I return to, appears in the Lurianic texts called “shevirat ha-qelim,” or the “breaking of the vessels”. These were considered the original vessels that shattered and scattered themselves into space. In the wake of this event, the light that had been contained within them returned to their divine source, while the remainder fell as broken shards. From these shards the powers of the qelipot, that is, “husks” or “shells” were produced. These broken shards signify the material world and what can be collected, amassed and clustered in response to the specific characteristics of our material condition. Just as, all things return to olam ha-tikkun, literally “the world of repair,” a world restored to its perfect status.
My work reveals itself in the process of making and those processes are displayed in their unfolding. There are no final conclusions. It’s a meditative process; reconsidering what we acquire over time, the metaphorical acts of searching, excavating and unearthing these material and immaterial things. All is represented as reconstructed, re-purposed future relics. Morgan Veness is a Sydney based artist with an MFA from UNSW College of Art and Design.