Barbie Kjar: The Sea, The Sea

5 - 26 September 2014

This exhibition, The Sea, The Sea has been inspired by literature based on the sea, by writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Emily Dickenson, Adrienne Eberhard, Ernest Hemingway, Philip Hoare, Homer, David Malouf, Herman Melville, Ann Radcliffe and many more.

 

I have a seafaring heritage; on my Father’s side a Danish sea captain and on my Mother’s side, Cornish relatives with links to the seafaring Spanish.

 

I am interested in the waterline, above and below. In particular, the mystery of what lies beneath the surface of the water fascinates me. There are subterranean animals and dangerous sea creatures, which I have personally experienced whilst swimming in the seas. In fact, due to global warming there appears to be a larger number of jellyfish in the ocean and in 2014 in Southern Tasmania, a jellyfish of unusually gigantic proportion was washed up on the beach!

 

In my research I discovered the Spanish legend of the fish man of Lierganes. It is a story about a man who disappears from the North of Spain while he was swimming in the sea and reappears five years later in Cadiz. He still looked like the same young man, but he had developed some fish like qualities, such as a strip of scales that went down from his throat to his stomach and another that covered his spine.

 

I associate the waterline with the ideas of exploration and navigation and how boat journeys can mirror our own life journeys. For example, in Homer’s epic the Odyssey, Homer made this comparison with life experience, as Ulysses encountered monsters, storms, whirlpools and sirens whilst on his nautical Journey back to Ithica. This twenty-year journey tested his character and at times was even life threatening. The image Lulu at the Helm reflects this idea of steering, direction, power and navigation and the concept of being in charge of one’s destiny but also at the whim of the force of the unknown wild seas. Elias Canetti, has written in his book, Crowds and Power, that every person is prone to see him or herself as captain of a ship at sea.

 

 

Borges: The SEA

 

‘BEFORE  OUR HUMAN DREAM (or terror) WOVE

MYTHOLOGIES, COSMOLOGIES, AND LOVE,

BEFORE TIME COINED ITS SUBSTANCE INTO DAYS,

THE SEA, THE ALWAYS SEA, EXISTED; WAS.

WHO IS THE SEA? WHO IS THAT VIOLENT EING,

VIOLENT AND ANCIENT, WHO GNAWS THE FOUNDATIONS

OF EARTH ? HE IS BOTH ONE AND MANY OCEANS;

HE IS ABYSS AND SPLENDOR, CHANCE AND WIND.

WHO LOOK AT THE SEA, SEES IT FOR THE FIRST TIME,

EVERY TIME ,WITH THE WONDER DISTILLED

FROM ELEMENTARY THINGS-FROM BEAUTIFUL

EVENINGS, THE MOON, THE LEAP OF A BONFIRE.

WHO IS THE SEA? AND WHO AM I? THE DAY

THAT FOLLOWS MY LAST AGONY SHALL SAY