I Appear And Disappear


I Appear And Disappear, 2003-2004, 20 figures ranging from 6’(183cm) to 1’(30cm) high, glazed stoneware
Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin
Te Tuhi Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand

Am I shrinking or getting bigger? It depends which way you approach the work. Twenty ceramic figures of myself stare out over the exhibition. At one end the figures are life-size, at the other end only knee height. I exploit the natural qualities of clay, which shrinks when fired. Each bust becomes the model for a smaller clay bust, which becomes smaller again in the kiln.

Traditionally, self-portraits projected a romantic and singular image of the artist. I however, try to suggest that something gets lost every time you double yourself. The more of me there are, the tinier my stand-ins become. Taken to its inevitable conclusion, this self-cloning self-portrait would reduce me to a wisp of clay. This work is a wry commentary on self-portraiture and artistic ego.