table, bible, milk, shellac, and handmade paper
30” x 18” x 20”
Heilig is a part of a larger, ongoing body of work called Freezing of the Failure Situation, in which I experiment with milk as an artistic medium. In 2011 I set up several scenarios where an apparatus containing milk provided a continuously dripping source for mark making onto substrates such as cloth, wood, paper, and books. I meticulously recorded the results, altered my methodology, and apologized to my very patient studio mates for the pervading odor of experimentation.
“Freezing of the failure situation” refers to developmental psychologist D. W. Winnicott’s theory about regression, characterizing an individual’s compulsion to repeat situations of failure again and again, in the hopes that new environmental conditions will allow for a successful situation. Often the original failure situation, experienced as a child, is identified as a maternal failure. By repetitively and ritualistically dripping milk on surfaces such as books, I am illustrating the psychological tendency to return over and over to an abstract memory of loss as an attempt at resolution. Heilig, the German word for holy or sacred, refers not only to the bible itself as a holy text, but to the sacred ways that we relate self to mother, self to other, and self to self.