We Would Sit Together (Sculpture) 2019
The sculptures stand as a still life Momento 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 reminiscent shape of their former presence, moulded from draped fabric.
In veiling the object, it ceases to become a distraction for the soul who needs to disestablish itself from earthly ties and make the journey to the other realm. The act of this ritual is about remembering the departed. We - those left behind - bear the burden of memory in order to allow the departed to be relinquished from it and thus, we become aids in their transition. Memory is a thing that explicitly belongs to the living. It is in the ritual that we remember that we too shall die and in response, we must get on with living.
Objects used and once belonging to individuals tend to retain their energy after death, it is both nostalgia at work and a mysterious faculty. This process of concealment, therefore, is both mourning ritual and a superstitious act. We honour the dead and simultaneously, ward them off.
Beneath the sculptures, Ida uses negative space as a visual representation of our departeds presence, thus, becoming a palpable effigy of their absence from life. In the context of our memory, these sculptures are but representations and can no longer be sat at, the table can not be eaten from. However, the memory of this table exchange with a departed soul evokes a sense of contemplation for the viewer. 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 the essence of it, such as the space between two violin strings. The motivation to draw focus to this space, causes the viewer to see the shape of a familiar memory and inadvertently fill it from their own experience.
We Would Sit Together (Video Work) 2019
Life and Death attend a dinner party; They meet and merge. Life acknowledges life, toasting to it. Life seizes the moment. Life talks and laughs and imbibes, Life connects with all living things.
Life observes Death.
Death comes, like clockwork. Death shrouds Life’s chair in cloth, acknowledging that Life lived. In this act, Death honours Life and simultaneously wards them away from it. The Lives remaining bear the burden of memory, but continue living.
‘We Would Sit Together’ addresses the Death Ritual as a necessary and meaningful vehicle for connection and contemplation. The collective elements of this work symbolically represent ‘Memento Mori' - Remember that you shall die and present a call to viewers: live fully - live well.
Influenced by Victorian Era mourning rites (shrouding furniture with cloth) and the Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) narrative, the work reminds viewers that we are all - neighbour and stranger - united by death.
Speak with each other, share your stories. Feel as you do when you are most involved in life.
Take up your glass. The lead person will begin the acknowledgement of all who are present, beginning with a clink of their glass to the left. This continues around the circle until it reaches the first person again. The circle is now closed and all are acknowledged. Drink.
Stand, and walk a circle around the table again to the left. One person will exit. Take your set.
Death enters. All watch as they veil the now empty chair.
Death exits. All stay focused on the chair, and muse on the person who is now gone.
Resume conversation. Repeat until all people have exited. The last person on their way out, extinguishes the candles, symbolising the brevity of life.
Photographs of ‘We Would Sit Together’ (below) from solo exhibition at Æther Art Space, Sofia Bulgaria. May 2019