Cognition

Premier installation of Sometimes I Feel My Heart Will Burst.
Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale, Victoria, 1 December 2012 – 27 January 2013.

Digital print, hand-cut on polyethylene, 2,300 x 5,500mm.

Sometimes I Feel My Heart Will Burst also appeared in the group exhibition Mythopoetic at Griffith University Art Gallery, QCA Project Gallery, QCA Webb Gallery, South Brisbane, Queensland, 10 April – 18 May 2013.

Installation view and detail

Images courtesy Gippsland Art Gallery. Photography by Lindsay Roberts.

Artist statement: Sometimes I feel my heart will burst

I travel/ travail: incorporating memories, sensations and encounters into my personal archive. Creating a work allows a process of translation to occur, rendering a richly layered record of an idiosyncratic lived experience. These processes are also enacted in the work I undertake for commissions in the public domain that require a sensitivity to place, history and culture.

With this work I looked afresh at the landscape of my childhood, both with fondness and gratitude for the opportunities to explore the wider world that my leaving it has granted.  Familiar hills and fields are reconfigured through imagery acquired during adult travels; details of stone carvings and textiles from India and Spain. Always there is transformation; the rhythm of the landscape, delicate detail and a sense of exuberant energy.

The idea of the body is very present for me in the making of the work on a number of levels. Firstly I was intrigued by the idea that we might have a body memory for a particular type of landscape, that of our childhood and formative years. My ideas were further advanced after an incident in rural Spain in 2009 whilst on a research trip when I experienced a ‘body shock’ of recognition at the familiar/unfamiliar landscape I found myself in.

I am also interested in the physicality of being in a rural landscape; a vastly different experience of space and the quality of sound to that found in the urban environment. In this way the body is also referenced through the materiality of the work, from the very direct engagement of cutting the printed surface to the all-encompassing scale of the image that seeks to overwhelm the viewer with pattern and colour, evoking an Australian landscape composed of multiple cultural references.

The work could well be considered a self-portrait; from where I come, where I have been and the richness of the process to date … Sometimes I feel my heart will burst.

Excerpt from exhibition catalogue essay by Linda Carroli

It happens to us all: that sense of déjà vu, that sense of being somewhere uncannily familiar, or that moment of the double take. The starting point for Mandy Ridley’s installation, Cognition, is the development of an artwork that engages that experience across not only two landscapes but across multiple registers of time and memory.

In this work Ridley sees and senses herself seeing at the nexus of tensely connected ideas – not quite oppositional but distinctly different – landscape and architecture, memory and nostalgia, here and there, inhabitant and visitor. The two landscapes to which she refers are Cordoba, Spain where she visited Madinat al-Zahra, and Gippsland, Victoria where she grew up. Hence, the idea of cognition directs viewers to the artist’s perceptual, experiential and mental space.

Cognition presents a psychogeographic response to the landscape’s stimulation of the senses and its mesh with memory, and recognises Merleau-Ponty’s (1968) idea of landscape as a way of being, not merely a way of seeing. It is the self assembled and performed through embodied practices of landscape, or chora. It is the self and the landscape entwined.

To view the full essay, please visit the following link:
'Cognition', by Linda Carroli, essay for exhibition invitation/catalogue for Cognition, Gippsland Art Gallery, 2012.

Other media & documentation

Art Collector, online exhibition article.

'Year 11 Art Incursion', Yarram Secondary College, online article.