Vivian Liddell: In Search of Lost Time
A One-Day Solo Exhibition at Parlor ATL
Friday, November 4th, 7 - 10 PM
This show came out of its materials. It started with yarn. My grandmother is 95 years old and has severe dementia. She doesn’t talk much when I’m around, other than to ask the same questions over and over about my sons. (“Is she left handed?” is a favorite.) She lives every other month with my parents and my mother tells me stories of her nights—how my grandmother gets dressed at two in the morning to meet the dead, or go for a drive in a car that she no longer has. She spends the limited waking hours of her days working on puzzles, watching game shows, and crocheting chains from balls of yarn—because she can’t follow a pattern. She sees the yarn that she has crocheted, sitting on my mother’s couch and asks what is this? My mother answers her it’s yours, mother. Then my grandmother will pick up the yarn, start crocheting where she left off, and continue to ask as she works—why am I doing this? I told my mother I could use the chained balls of yarn for an art project. Now that’s how she answers my grandmother: it’s for Vivian’s art.
The chains are made of brightly colored, soft yarn that my grandmother enjoys handling. Her therapist says working on the chains is great for her hand-eye coordination. But when I see the yarn, I feel my grandmother’s frustration at all the things she can’t remember. Mostly I feel sadness for a person who has a whole life that appears to her only in glimpses. As I am working on these pieces, I think about her confusion, her life, and the memories (good and bad) lost.
Marcel Proust starts his masterpiece (In Search of Lost Time) by asking readers to think of the circular, sometimes broken, way we see memories as we doze in and out of sleep, only sorting things out in a linear way as we wake into ourselves and are finally able to place our location, our time, and our thoughts. I imagine my grandmother’s mind to be somewhat like this half-dream state, a series of impressions that dip in and out of the past, combining her lived worlds.
862 Vedado Way NE, Atlanta, Georgia