The Fantastical Reconstruction of the Epine GY7

upcoming: moca tucson, fall 2019

chapter one: the fragments

Work in progress, in the studio.  Photo by Harry Eelman.

Work in progress, in the studio. Photo by Harry Eelman.

The Fantastical Reconstruction of The Epine GY7

In the middle of a winter night in 1948, in the icy, turbulent waters off the western coast of Iceland, a British fishing trawler called the Epine GY7 smashed into rocks.  All that’s left of this event is a strange landscape of twisted metal figures embedded in a black-pebbled beach near Snaefellsness Glacier. Unrecognizable as the ship it once was, and left to rust for the past 70 years, these sculptural, oxidized remains create a strikingly enigmatic memorial.

Like the metal strewn on the beach, my studio overflows with stacks, piles and arrangements of abstract cut shapes of painted canvas — a different kind of wreckage.  My process is one of assembling and reassembling these fragments of evidence into large-scale configurations that posit new possibilities, forms, and understandings.  

I’ve been to Dritvik beach many times.  Once, with an ex-boyfriend on a road trip with our friends Hildur and Joi.  And then again, about a year later, to scatter that boyfriend’s ashes after he died in a car accident.  Each time, I’ve felt compelled to gather the pieces somehow, or make a record of them, and to translate them into a new form: what meaning can I make from this evidence?

Most recently, I went back to Dritvik beach with a small group of loyal and intrepid friends.  Over the course of five summer nights, fueled by boxed wine and thermoses of coffee, we made rubbings on canvas of every piece of the rusted remains of the Epine GY7.  

When my boyfriend died, I couldn’t make sense of it.  I felt that if I just recorded it, gathered the evidence, I could make sense of it later.  After a year of documenting — turning my camera on myself, on others, on people I thought might have answers — I had accumulated over 50 tapes.  I began to sift through them; I transcribed each one by hand.  That document is the catalog of this show. 

This project is not an attempt to recreate history, but rather to propose a new monument, a monument of a monument.  Not to report but to transform.