Clare Smith lives and works in Kent. Her work is concerned with suggested subjectivities, narratives and ideas around the nature of experience. “Drawing for me is betweenness, somewhere on the line that posits sculpture at one end and painting at the other. The idea of betweenness also relates to my personal biography, namely my mixed Chinese/English heritage. The condition of being between cultures and losing a language, namely Chinese, is one that is not mine alone; plenty of others have gone before me, and it is not interesting per se. What is interesting is the way writers like Edward Said and Helene Cixous, for example, have, in comparable circumstances, created an identity in writing, in their work: work thus becomes an alternative space for identity or a self-consituting process. As Kate Love puts it, “the work also produces you” My drawings are a way of slowing down time, finding a quiet place to be, grounding my sense of self. I start with a line or mark and repeat these. I also like to score or cut the paper, which has to do with scarring and wounding as well as with the delicacy of Chinese paper cuts. Repetition is used both in the process of making the work and as a formalist strategy. Repetition together with visuality is a key aspect of trauma discourse: traumatic events, unspoken and unspeakable – but intensely visual - remain in one’s guts, in the recesses of personal, individual and collective memory, always there as a threat, awaiting their moment of return. “I am a memory come alive” is how Kafka describes himself, positing the idea that the self arises out of memory, a statement that resonates, that suggests we are living, breathing memories, animated recollections of our own past, but always moving into the future through the present, where according to Bergson the body is “an ever advancing boundary between the future and the past.”
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