Roget's Circular

JUST*ICE? SMH LIFE AND DEATH SHOW Greg Leong ROGET'S CIRCULAR Sean PayneCarmel Bird Sharon Pittaway Deborah Malor Simon Longstaff Helen Rayment BEWARE OF PEDESTRIANS Roger Palmer Carmel Bird Michael Buckley


STILL LIFE: Deborah Malor

The collection does not displace attention to the past; rather the past is at the service of the collection. In the collection, time is not something to be restored to an origin; rather all time is made simultaneous or synchronous within the collection's world.

Susan Stewart, On longing, 1993, p.151


What a great collection Roget made -a collection of words that embraced the sensations and urges that are the expressions of the world, the sounds by which sense is made, transmitted, shared. Working with Roget's map of meaning, and the categories- will, matter, affections, abstract relations, intellect and space - that he used to organise his collection of words, Lisa Roberts and Melissa Smith present their own personal collections which document their relationships in the concrete representations of Roget's categories - child, still life, letter, portrait, garden, landscape. These experiences, places, presences are not always directly those of the artists but those of others the spirits of whose existences are made tantalisingly manifest through fragments that have been revealed, often through serendipity, in the process of research.

The lists, the accession sheets, the documentation of this collection are as much about the fragments of two lives - those of the artists - as they are about the manner of their presentation: the use of a range of media from the contemporary interactives to the almost domestic (printmaking), from shifting stories in a suitcase to the apparent permanency of framed works on a gallery wall.

The true collection is one in which one has a part in the assembling, rather than the found collection, where one does not know whether it is, in fact complete, whether it is the finite set. The finite set, as Stewart recalls, results from the replacement of content with classification. In making the works for exhibition, and in designing the form of the collection, Roberts and Smith have brought together this series of fragments that, through one sort of classification, becomes a whole. But, to those who consider - quietly - the display and assembling of the material, the collection is incomplete, and makes mysterious the final form it may possibly take in the experiences of the artists. Rather than the didactic display or exhaustive documentation of objects and images drawn from a single, arcane theme, this assembling of a series of relationships is open even when closed, inviting, even when the viewer is experiencing an undertow of doubt. The child, the still life, the letter, the portrait, the garden, and the landscape, all are only partly known, little understood, frustratingly opaque, and yet have become intimately implicated in our lives in this moment of retrieval.

One cannot know everything about the world but one can at least approach closed knowledge through the collection. Although transcendent and comprehensive in regard to its own context, such knowledge is both eclectic and eccentric.

Susan Stewart, On longing, 1993, p.161


Deborah Malor, Launceston, 2000

In 2000 Dr. Deborah Malor was Senior Lecturer in Visual and Performing Arts at University of Tasmania, Launceston.