The Interpreted Object: Forgotten objects find new artistic and poetic expression
In The Interpreted Object, forgotten objects find new artistic and poetic expression. The artists searched for quasi-obsolete objects where the original purpose or use had been lost. The “action” intrinsic to the object—a knife cuts, a spoon stirs—was therefore also lost, which allowed the artists to assign new actions (“title” verbs), according to what they perceived to be the “spirit” of the object. Along with the verbs came poetic phrases that further interpreted the objects and imbued them with meaning. Verbs and phrases found form in corresponding booklets, one for each object. Through this process of (re)discovery, Harris and Silva revisit, in new ways, familiar themes of motherhood, loss, memory, and relationships. A first English and Italian iteration of this project, which included 64 objects and booklets, was created for the Sixteenth International Poetry Festival in the Galleria Cartavetra, in Florence, Italy.
Lyall Harris and Patricia B. Silva have been collaborating in the field of book art, photography and installation since 2014. Their co-created work has been widely exhibited across the US and in Italy. A 2017 travelling exhibit Meeting Places/Luoghi d’incontro, which included public programming and an artists’ residency, went from public libraries in Virginia and San Francisco to SRISA Gallery in Florence, Italy, where Harris and Silva conceived, executed and mounted a new body of work, based on “objects of nostalgia” donated by local residents, titled Passato Prossimo in real time in the gallery. Harris and Silva are both educators in the field of book art and both hold MFAs (Harris in Book Art and Creative Writing from Mills College and Silva in Book Arts/Printmaking from University of the Arts). Their collaborative and individual work is held in many institutions in the US and abroad