Deciphering Mother Zeppelin

Today I brought home Mother Zeppelin, my print that was selected for the Voir Grand Biennial, a national large format print contest, organized by Atelier Circulaire. The exhibition was held at the Maison de la culture Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extention, in Montreal, from May 8 to June 8, 2008. Sixteen finalists, hailing from Vancouver to Halifax, were selected. The jury consisted of Mathieu Beauséjour (artist and coordinator of Clark), Geneviève Goyer-Ouimette (responsible for the Collection de prêt d’oeuvres d’art, Musée national de beaux-arts du Québec), and Irene Whittome (artist).

During a press conference artists had a chance to present their work. The audience consisted of Radio Canada television and radio, Télé-Québec, a couple of local newspapers and a handful of artists. This was a rare opportunity to discover the stories behind the prints. As artist François Vincent said to me at the end of this event, “Artists have something to say.”

motherzeppelin.jpg
Mother Zeppelin, Collagraphy, 166 x 102 cm, 2007

Mother Zeppelin is a reflection on human identity in relation to the experience of home. It is a visual play of words where color, texture, composition and figurative imagery interact with writing.

In a house, words are arranged alphabetically from top to bottom, in two vertical columns. Read in this order they become an inventory of the house.

The words may also be read across, two at a time along horizontal lines, creating whimsical combinations that suggest images and emotions connected to the theme of home. Interpretation is of coarse subjective and may suggest more than one meaning. For example, GHOST TOAST might make one think of a piece of toast that has been left at the kitchen table long after family members have headed off to their day’s activities. It may also conjure the image of food that has been set at the place of a deceased loved one. LAUGHTER YO-YO suggests the pleasure of play. It also alludes to the variable emotional climate of a home. The words, regardless of how they are read and interpreted, create mental images and sensations that influence the way we understand this print.

The title of this piece, Mother Zeppelin, corresponds to the last two words in the print that can be read across, and to the female figure in the attic of the house. She floats like a zeppelin, perhaps escaping or simply levitating above the babble of her home:

    ATTIC…………………. NOVELS
    BABY……………………OYSTERS
    CANDY………………….PANTIES
    DISH DRAINER………..QUIET
    EGG………………………ROOM
    FOUNDATION…………SHOES
    GHOST………………….TOAST
    HOSTESS……………….UTERUS
    INCOME…………………VACUUM
    JELLO……………………WOMAN
    KISS …………………….X-RAY
    LAUGHTER…………….YO-YO
    MOTHER……………….ZEPPELIN

    Talleen Hacikyan

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