Josephine Cachemaille latest body of work illustrates the artist’s grapple with a collection of concerns about ownership, our psychological histories and experiences, and the capacity of the materials and objects involved in art-making processes to share authorship of the artistic output.
My Relics Not My Relics, signals Cachemaille’s conflicted confessional position. She offers a sprawling installation populated by her “relics” while acknowledging that they are not hers but belong to those who came before - to lost civilisations, to other artists and thinkers, to anyone and everyone who has been in some form of relationship with the images, materials, processes and concepts she presents.
The exhibition proposes that the relics displayed are entities in their own right. Describing their relationship as collaborative, Cachemaille approaches materials and objects anthropomorphically, acknowledging the shifting contributions of mixed authorship. The relics are described as actors in multiple previous relationships, and as productive participants in new relationships, not simply receptacles for human stories about them. In this sense they are never static, never her relics, but are always engaging in many encounters and experiences, with or without the artist.
Cachemaille claims that her art-making is a form of personal therapy, a sustained opportunity to feel connections with herself and others, human and non-human alike. Within the exhibition, sculptures evoke the language and concepts of psychotherapy. An adult-sized stuffed canvas tube bears the stylised text “PSYCHO DRAMA”, another “GREEDY” “GUILTY”. They operate as comical bolster-cushion props for exorcising emotions while simultaneously suggesting toppled columns in some ancient ruin.
Papier-mache pots reference imagined ancient vessels, but they also imply personhood - some have names and carry facial features - they are personal. The washed paintings and faded-purple cloth works are reminiscent of the paraphernalia of New Age neo-hippies and raver clothing from the 90s. Her oversized-hand soft sculptures operate somewhere between the big gloves ravers pumped in the dark and shamanistic divining tools.
My Relics Not My Relics suggests that the artworks are all relics from an exploration of Cachemaille’s personal psychology, that scraping away at our pasts is like an archeological dig, and that the tools used are as important as the things unearthed.
View exhibition »