Multimedia artist Claudia Brand is an artist of the internet age. As our understandings of the ways that we see the world shift, recompress and alter through digital passageways, Brand is reconfiguring an artistic narrative with no beginning or end, that is both of the past and always present. One of the artists selected by Amy Roser of Art Pharmacy for the upcoming St O’Donnell Select Gallery at Backyard Opera, Brand’s work will be on display at our studios.
While Brand’s work traces multiple trajectories, one thread connecting her works is an engagement with pasts, both personal and universal. In a recent video work entitled Ashe, Brand constructs a never ending tennis rally between three-time Grand Slam winner Arthur Ashe and various unidentified opponents. In the video, Ashe never misses a shot, yet the quality of the archival video reminds us that this was an event that occurred in a specific time. This evokes a feeling of pleasure, watching the perfectly timed shots, but with a hint of passing. Ashe died from AIDS-related illnesses in 1993 and so these videos exist from a time that cannot be repeated. Forever reminding us of what once was.
Speaking about this process of collecting images and material to create a work, Brand noted, “nostalgia is central to most of my work... I often source from old photos I've taken or recreate places from memory.”
In the case of Ashe, Brand highlights a part of a now lost personal place — the home of her Malaysian Indian family — where tennis was constantly played on the living room television and Ashe was greatly admired. In recreating Ashe's success, Brand attempts to visualise lost relationships; ones that are no longer tangible, yet that replay in her memories.
Just like Ashe, other works by Brand highlight how our memories of places no longer accessible to us, because of their distance in time and space, can be found in the mundane objects in the background of photographs. These objects serve as a reminder of the remembered place. In Heater 2, exhibited as part of Brand’s show at 107 Projects in April this year with Elyse Howe, certain objects from her family's and her own past and present homes were recreated in wood and inkjet print, including a heater which continued Brand’s observation of this object from Indoor Intervention. As objects existing in space but, in their recreation, out of time, these sculptures traversed the boundaries between photograph, installation and sculpture, much as Brand’s looped videos defy traditional generic categories. As Brand described, her work is “suspended in time and considered kind of like photograph or sculpture, there's no start or finish.”
Other works by Brand have used freely available stock images and videos to construct landscapes which, despite their passing similarity to real-life scenes, inevitably only exist in a virtual world. These are then stitched together into short videos, roughly a minute long, and displayed as loops, with no definite length. Wind, one of the works in this series, will be displayed as part of St O’Donnell Select Gallery. These works are, as Brand suggested, “really emphasising the point that it’s not a narrative, not a story, but one fragment suspended in time.”
These videos, while not explicitly demonstrating the methods of their construction, are unavoidably plastic in their aesthetic, never a one-to-one representation of a material reality. Just as Brand struggles with finding the right images online that fit the specifications she is after, the videos point back to other sentiments that echo across Brand’s oeuvre, of imperfect recollection of a time no longer accessible.
As Brand herself highlights, “by having these imperfect recreations its alluding to the fact that there's a lack of information that you can gather from the past.”
View Brand’s online portfolio at https://www.claudia-brand.com/. St O’Donnell Select Gallery will be held on September 22 at 880 Princes Highway, Tempe. Check out the full event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2035197753409771/