Moment(ous) – Circa Magazine

Momentous  is a thought provoking project  exploring  love and , loss of a child  and  what is to witness , and be part of the resulting grief. 

The installation  is  in three components. Two  commanding life-size  photographs (of  mantelpieces) reveal a lifetime collection of family moments through snapshots, notes and artefacts. A photograph, of a still, resting body. It is fragile, and disarming. A collection of video stills freeze frame the private, domestic moments of a family during this grief.  All  elements are brimming full of life  but are fleeting by implication

The images  invite  the viewer witness  a mother s loss of a child. To  then witness the power  that turns the smallest  moments into  (as in the title of the project) momentous occasions. The extraordinary and ordinary  events that can command the lives of those as they grief

The two substantial mantelpieces  are separated from their domestic interior, cluttered with snapshots and moments  that quickly stitch the life of the family together. These are images of Friends, smiles, celebrations and artefacts  that appear to span  several decades . These two images reveal  a tapestry of a personal  memory of a family and both contain moments from that life that is no longer.

 The  image of the resting body is quite disarming  as it takes a while  for it  come into focus. The viewer is driven to reconsider the elements in this image and consequently  adjacent images. The video stills emphasis  the artists interest in the everyday and normality that surrounds mechanics of grief. We are asked to consider how these ordinary moments can be extraordinary.

The  stills are from a video  piece which is not  part of the show. The stills  again take a while to reveal  themselves,  they are  lifted  from the passing days of loss. They are very calm and peaceful  and could be from any time, A family gathering, a Sunday or just when someone had a camera. These gatherings  we see are  very particular  and are the threads that draws together the grief and loss within a home.

There is no problem figuring out what  this show is about . The content  is there and  it is definitely a hard project  to realise . This is not without  range of responsibilities . It is the background to the images that it is useful to consider. The artist  often has a bag of tricks to draw us in and keep us occupied , the skill  this  time  has been to leave  behind  painting (the artist’s preferred medium) and work in a way  that  does not privilege this artistry.  This project  has taken place in the upheaval of  losing life , in a home ,within a family . The broker ing of trusts  and permissions  has clearly informed the criteria with which to make the work.   To  then establish a distance and allow the work to reveal itself  is the task at hand. There is no one position from which to view the work , the viewer is  left to piece the thing together. Above all the project shows the power and dignity in the experiences of loss.

The rewards  have been  that this is a deeply personal study of a mother’s loss and  the journey she and her family take in encountering this loss . It is a proud and  aesthetically  responsible show. The  project  consciously  acknowledges the role of others in its production  and of course in its content 

Clea  Van der grijn  is no stranger to projects  that deal  with the very  raw and personal side  of life. This project is a logical progression  of the content  of previous work . The choice of medium  has  allowed the work to engage / confront both  the artist and the audience. The artistry  and aesthetic  of the work  are driven by the content  and it’s the content that is so important  here . The result of making new choices is that there is no  distracting footprint  of the artist , which  then allows the content command the space. The success of this show is its consideration  this key issue . Calm and carefully distanced observations  are being made and represented  from amidst these  moments of loss .  It is these considerations and resulting decisions  that make this all the more personal and moving.

Winnie the Poo
Winnie the Poo, Lambda print on dibond with scrylic mount 60cm x 60cm