We'll Always Have Paris
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them".
Do we come back to clichés for reasons that lie below the sub-atomic? We'll Always Have Paris: Bent Tales from the Sub-Atomic at Kieth+LottieGallery, Northbridge, Western Australia, January 2008 was an exploration of how quantum physics influences the way we tell stories. With Paris I started to mix traditional painting techniques with stencils and photographic techniques.
In my 2006 exhibition Sedition and Other Bedtime Stories I began looking into the quantum world. I was seeking new ways of seeing old problems and, frankly, watching apples falling from trees was wearing pretty thin. Were we really destined to keep repeating our mistakes? In We’ll Always Have Paris – Bent Tales from the Sub- Atomic I began imagining if the road less travelled was actually possible? In fact, I wondered if I was walking that road in another reality while I was sitting on my studio floor in this one.
I started reading a lot about quantum physics, the history of physics, entanglement, many worlds, non-locality, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and, of course, deciding if Schrodinger's Cat was indeed alive or dead. My artist-mind sought more familiar analogies for these concepts. Science is changing the way we see life. This affects me. It's not outside of me. Einstein and his colleagues made quantum discoveries at the turn of the last century using ‘thought experiments’. To me, these experiments were not unlike fantasy stories and plays on word and logic. Bringing my own interest in narratives theory to this subject, I became interested in using literary comparisons to continue this experiment.
After all, I didn’t need to be Shakespeare to follow dead cats and falling apples into a world where everyone admitted that certainty was the greatest fiction of all. So when reading about the ‘uncertainty principle’ or the ‘many worlds theory’ I was inspired by stories that had shaken my idea of reality. That included Wuthering Heights, the 1847 novel by Emily Brontë which I read for the first time in my Melbourne studio in 1989. In this novel Brontë’s character Heathcliff (as the observer) is watching the two characters Catherine/Cathy (the subject) while trying to reconcile (the Observer) which one is alive and which one is dead (like Schrödinger’s Cat).
What I got from this series was the beginning of understanding how stories-my stories on canvas-are part of the way I influence the world that I experience. Can I change that reality through my canvases?