Launch of Pavitra Wickramasinghe: The Book of Light and Shadows
Posted May 15, 2013 by jake moore
Foreword - Avant propos
The Book of Light and Shadows is a traditional title used for the notebooks maintained by witches. Each sorcerer is said to keep a book of notations, incantations, materials and experiences from which to draw their magic. In this collected form it gathers power over time and serves as reference for both its owner and others that might stumble across it. While Pavitra Wickramasinghe is not suggesting herself a witch, her deeply poetic work does conjure that which is not in fact there. Imagination takes over via her material suggestions and we start to construct whole narratives and even believe we see them unfold before us.
This imaging power suggests the supernatural and fictive as does the title of her exhibition, Time Machine. She has been inspired by the scientific work of physicist Ronald L. Mallett and his theories of time-travel based on laser technology – in a sense using light as a time machine. Curiously, as the premise seems so nostalgic, his ideas are not from another time but in development right now. This shifting sense of time and slight impossibilities of the places that are conjured are also at play within the objects and images here. The resulting projects of Wickramasinghe are things of wonder and delicate imagery produced on paper through painstaking drawing and historical photographic techniques. These careful methods hint at the complex relationship between what we see, what we imagine, and what is actually there.
The bookwork allows us access to her methodologies and opens access to an inquisitive and heartfelt practice. Produced in tandem with the exhibition, both are the culminating acts of practice based research that began two years ago with the awarding of the second Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art.
I remain grateful to Claudine and Stephen Bronfman for having composed a fellowship of ideal construction for the emerging artist professional. I must also acknowledge what an immense pleasure it has been to work with Pavitra, the chosen fellow of 2011, and to witness the development of the responsive text and book design by Taien Ng-Chan, writer, multidisciplinary artist and scholar in the Humanities PhD program at Concordia University. From this robust ecology of fiscal, cultural, and creative support something remarkable has happened. It is neither magic, nor science, but instead that more complex site of potential that is the making of art.
To all parties in this larger project, my thanks