WE WOULD SIT TOGETHER/DEPARTED DIALOGUES by Ida Sophia

WE WOULD SIT TOGETHER/DEPARTED DIALOGUES 03/05-26/05/2019 WE WOULD SIT TOGETHER The sculptures stand as a still-life Memento Mori. Taking the form of a dining room scene, Ida Sophia’s work connects us with a familiar memory of sitting at a table with someone, about to share a meal. At closer inspection, there is no table, nor chairs to sit upon; only a silhouette of their past, moulded from draped fabric. In veiling the object, it ceases to be a distraction for the soul who needs to sever its earthly ties and make the journey to the other realm. This ritualistic act is to remember the departed. We – the ones left behind – carry the burden of memory so that the departed may relinquish themselves from the material world. We aid their transition. Memory explicitly belongs to the living. It is through this ritual that we are reminded of our own mortality; and that we must carry on living. Objects used and once belonging to individuals retain an energy in death. This process of concealment, therefore, is both ritualistic mourning and superstitious act. We honour the dead and simultaneously ward them off. Beneath the sculptures, Ida uses negative space as a visual representation of the departed; a palpable effigy of their absence from life. Within the context of our own memory, these sculptures are but representations of moments gone by. Considering space in this way reflects the Japanese concept of ‘MA’; “more than simply a void: it is a rich space that possesses incalculable energy” [Akiko Fukai]. The “MA” of an object is its essence, such as the space between two violin strings. Drawing focus to this space, allows the viewer to see the shape of a familiar memory and inadvertently fill it from their own experience. DEPARTED DIALOGUES Continuing on from ‘We Would Sit Together’ within Æther Art Space, Ida Sophia considers the next phase of the departed’s journey. Does dialogue exist ‘up there’, in nirvana, the next world, the hereafter? What (perhaps) might it sound like? Can we be heard? The first law of thermodynamics states that: the total energy of an isolated system [i.e: the body] is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed [in death]. Applied in this context, a departed souls’ energy remains, causing a line of connection/ communication to remain open. Upon entering, the viewer approaches couplings of hovering faces. Parent to child. Lover to Lover. Sibling to Sibling. Friend to Friend. Enemy to Foe. Artist to Artist. Beneath delicate folds of fabric, the ambiguous human faces are positioned in dialogue with one another amidst a cacophony of noise. The imagined soundscape represents the departed soul’s dialogue in the next world; their energetic unity which exists beyond the physicality of plain language. In the centre of the room, a set of eight masks are turned to look outward. The sphere of faces invites the viewer to approach and engage in dialogue. As features come into familiar focus, the moment to communicate with your departed arrives. In speaking to those we have lost, we create a space to accept their absence while forming a connection back to them. The words spoken to these representations are absorbed, seemingly distorted, and are then translated back into the soundscape dialogue. Speak your grievances and final thoughts, your yearnings and misgivings, your promises pledged, kept and broken. Speak with them, they are listening. About the artist, personal motive and revealed processes: Ida Sophia (Born 1989, Mount Gambier) is an Australian contemporary Artist. She lives and works in Adelaide, Australia. Through her own personal, yet universal experience with death, Ida Sophia’s works focus on grieving processes. Relating to Memento Mori [Remember that you shall die], the works are concerned with the ritualistic separation from one’s departed and the journey to incorporate loss into life. “I am looking for qualities in my work that facilitate our need for ritual, contemplation and completion. I want to slow down the dilution of ceremony and reinvigorate its necessity in our present state.” Her themes oscillate between living and longing and how they directly reflect our experiences throughout mourning. Raised in a Victorian era home furnished with Japanese antiques, Ida Sophia cultivated a relationship with Eastern and Western ways of life, involving themes of death and beauty, from youth. This cultural exposure directly informs the foundational concepts of her work. In 2019, Ida Sophia graduated with a Diploma of Photography from The Centre for Creative Photography and held her first international solo exhibition at Æther Art Space in Sofia, Bulgaria. She attended the ‘Cleaning The House’ workshop with Marina Abramovic Institute in Evia, Greece and exhibited video work at Head On Screens for the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney, Australia. Ida Sophia will also participate in the graduate group show ‘Harvest’ at Studio Bowden, Adelaide. Her first international group show was held in May of 2018 at World Of CO in Sofia, Bulgaria. This show displayed her Series ‘Separation-Transition-Incorporation’, created in the four weeks prior as an artist in residence at World Of CO. In 2018 Ida Sophia was a finalist in the Byron Arts Magazine Prize held at ThomGallery, Byron Bay Sydney and contributed to Issue 1: Becoming The Other, Launched in Stuttgart in Nov. 2018 as part of Soft Power Palace at Kunstgebäude Stuttgart. 2017 saw her shortlisted for the Prospect Portrait Prize Adelaide and Click17 at the Brunswick Street Gallery Melbourne. Ida Sophia is a multimedia artist working in Adelaide. The mediums used in her practise include photography, video, performance, sound and sculpture. more of the artist: https://sophiearmstrong.photography/