"I Live Here Now" has gotten some nice press in Sweden. A few days before the opening I spoke with Boel Ulfsdotter from the Gothenburg Post and later, Henriette Ousbäck, wrote about the exhibition on her blog, Fiber Tiger. I am excited and grateful for both pieces! Here is a translation of the Fiber Tiger post:
"Last Saturday, after reading a teaser about Amy Tavern’s show in the paper, I thought it was time to finally find my way to Four.
The gallery is the only gallery in Gothenburg specializing in jewellery, after Hnoss at Konstepidemin closed the physical gallery. The gallery is run by four jewellery artists with Karin Roy Andersson as a committed force. Behind the gallery space you find the artists' workshops; I guess this is the only possible solution to be able to realize the idea of a gallery, to combine their own studio work with a functioning gallery.
I was very curious about this particular exhibitor because she has integrated textile in her jewellery art, in her own subtle way.
Textile jewellery or textile integrated with the metal in various shapes can be made in many different ways. Karin Ferner, whom I've written about before, is playing with the folkloric in her jewellery. She uses her inheritance from Dalarna and makes playful and imaginative jewelry.
Amy Tavern’s jewellery is something else. Her pieces are memories, processed memories, reconstructed experiences. She tries to show abstract thoughts as something concrete and tangible, something physical.
It is materialized memories, memories reshaped, reconstructed, but nonetheless true. In the encounter with the viewer chains of thoughts, which leads on, to own recollections are created.
Amy Tavern’s show does not present conventional jewellery; it is something as unique as a concept confirmation, where the jewellery is included as magical and ritual objects in a larger whole.
This is Amy Tavern’s first exhibition in Sweden. The title “I Live Here Now” sets the tone. Amy Tavern has long been without a so-called permanent home in a particular place. Out of necessity or from a free choice, she moved around, lived here, now there, travelled to other countries.
This has led her to ask questions. What is a home? Where do you feel at home?
Universal, fundamental issues, although Amy Tavern’s exhibition is based on her private life and her own experiences, the issues are current in a time of population migration and exile. Young people forced from their homes and their countries to find a livelihood. War and misery, persecution and intolerance means that millions of people have to seek new homes.
Amy Tavern investigates the concept of home from three different perspectives: her upbringing and childhood in the U.S., a stay in Iceland and in the fact that one can find home and feel at home wherever they happen to find themselves.
By entering into these issues, Amy Tavern is also approaching her own private life. By reflecting on all the places she lived in and the people she met, she finds her own way, including her artistic work.
To move, to tear up her residence again and again, to wander around, to live a nomadic life makes one sooner or later to someone who finds their domicile inside home.
Amy Tavern builds with great tenderness and poetry worlds of memory where the mundane and the unique form bearing element and starting points.
The exhibition is a sheer and stationary installation. She uses jewellery, objects, photography, arrangements; her search for home embraces much larger meanings, life and death.
Silently (I Saw a Robin Today) consists of the mother's wedding dress. After receiving it, it took some time before she dared to work on it and convert it. She began by very carefully ripping it up into parts. Everything was saved: buttons, zippers, hooks, eyes, ribbon, lace. Every little thread was recovered.
A ritual act, which raised questions that led to important conversations with the mother. Finally Amy Tavern understood, it was the process itself, deconstruction, not the final product, which was the real piece.
As an archaeologist she uncovers her memories of childhood.
The pictures below are borrowed from Amy Tavern’s very fine blog, where she very accurately describes her approach and her thoughts on her work. I really recommend that you go to the following link and take a look. Another piece was made of the dress lining. It is a big necklace. She cut all the pattern pieces into narrow strips, which she shaped and tied together, a nest of silk fabric and knots. She completed it with four gold bows, an allusion to ancient Greek tiaras and headbands.
A couple of other works were about Amy Tavern’s dad.
In the piece, “Forget Me Not,” Victorian mourning jewellery has inspired her.
In “Departing Ship” the starting point is a beautiful button from her father's uniform jacket from the fleet. A button that carries a load of memories has become gorgeous, minimalist brooches.
Inside the small medallion of silver is a picture of Amy Tavern’s father. There's also a bit of his hair. The hair is blurring the image, a father moving away into Alzheimer's disease fog.
Another jewellery piece: brass, address book, pen, compass, key: Wayfinder.
This is about a mapping, all the places Amy Tavern lived in: in eleven different cities in 25 different apartments and houses.
At the top is a map that combines all these locations. First Amy Tavern photocopied all the states, cut them apart and combined them making a fictitious new state. All localities are marked by tiny punctures, and her movements from place to place are symbolized by incised lines.
From this map hangs a pencil, an address book and the key to Amy's parents’ house, which until now never left her key bundle.
In the address book, she has listed all her old addresses under “T”, each with different pens.
An incredibly personal work, who more than she can wear this jewellery? It's like wearing all her life near the heart. But - the pen, the book: there is space for your own notes, a life of your own to contribute. This will make the piece universal.
On the wall is also a series of textile jewellery: Alone/Together, made of Icelandic sweaters, cotton, linen, wool thread. Necklace - Scarf, both/and.
Amy Tavern has embroidered and sewn the pieces. She mentions in her blog, that she appreciates it because it gives her a meditative awareness, the idea of hands that know themselves, what they should do.
Amy Tavern’s exhibition is cross-border and simultaneously self-evident. In contemporary art there are often no longer the sharp boundary between technology and materials. Not when it's at its best. Young artists make use of what you need, integrate, join, borrow from each other.
Amy Tavern’s blog is this quote by musician Brian Eno: "Stop thinking of artwork as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences”. I understand that Amy Tavern picked up these words. It was actually really well said.
The exhibition continues until May 3 Gallery Four, at Nordhemsgatan 74th. A pearl worth discovering."
Thanks for reading.