“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” George Orwell, 1984
We all have secrets, that’s part of being human. Some secrets we just hide, because there has not yet been the right moment to let them out. If we then decide to reveal a secret to someone, it can bring us closer together. It is a special moment, when you unburden yourself and decide to trust another human being with something you have kept for one reason or another. After sharing a secret, you might feel a bit more free and relaxed, because you need less energy to hide parts of yourself. But there are also things we would never tell, because we feel that they are too embarrassing or too severe to share. And some of those secrets weigh heavy.
In the studio I recently have been listening to the novel The Secret Keeper , which was written by Australian author Kate Morton. As the title indicates, the story is all about the secrets of a woman and the circumstances which make her keep a backlog of secrets from her own family, the consequences of this secret keeping and the elucidating effect for the family members, when all finally is revealed.
The book made me think about my own family too, about how little I really know about my grandparents for exemple and that it is unfortunately now too late to ask them anything. I’ve been confided with few secrets of my grandparents and parents though, which were extremely important to me to understand them better and eventually understand myself better too. Because often it is these dramatic events in one’s life we want to keep secret, which end up changing and shaping our lives forever and the echo’s of these events are unintentionally passed on from one generation to the next.
Whilst listening to Kate Morton´s book, I was working on three brooches and how it is often the case with me, the story got intertwined with my work. I imagined how nice it would be, if we had magical objects, which preserved our secrets for us, so that we could let down our guard and experience more freedom. When needed, the secrets could be extricated again from the objects. I imagined them to work similar to Albus Dumbledore‘s Pensive. Dumbledore pulls out memories of his head and then puts them into a magical basin, the Pensive, and when he needs to recall a certain moment of the past, he can review, or better, relive it by immersing his head into the Pensive. The memories appear as silvery liquid substances and the Pensive is filled not only with his own memories, but also with those of others. The idea is of course, not to loose any details of a memory and to relive a certain moment exactly how it occurred, because the mind has the habit to loose details or to modify a memory quite a bit. But I also thought that for very old and wise Dumbledore, it must also be a relief to be able to take out some memories, so that he does not have to remember everything he lived through by himself.
I took the liberty to title the three brooches The Secret Keepers. They are made of graffiti, glass, oxidised silver and stainless steel.
1 Carina Shoshtary: The Secret Keepers (silver), brooch, 2016; Graffiti, glass, silver, stainless steel; 7,3 cm cm x 6,6 cm x 2,6 cm; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
2/3 Carina Shoshtary: The Secret Keepers (pink), brooch, 2016; Graffiti, glass, silver, stainless steel; 8,5 cm cm x 5,5 cm x 2,6 cm; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
4/5 Carina Shoshtary: The Secret Keepers (blue), brooch, 2016; Graffiti, glass, silver, stainless steel; 8,2 cm cm x 6,0 cm x 2,6 cm; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
6/7 Carina Shoshtary: The Secret Keepers (silver), brooch, 2016; Graffiti, glass, silver, stainless steel; 7,3 cm cm x 6,6 cm x 2,6 cm; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
8 Carina Shoshtary: The Secret Keepers; brooches, 2016; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
Text edit: Hayley Grafflin