Exhibition Essays

Dove Tail Joint

August 2009


Molly Samsell

Upon entering Florence Wild’s installation at Enjoy Gallery, an open parachute anchored to the rafters captures the eye. The gaze is then drawn to the back wall, upon which the phrase ‘twist again’ is scrawled in large cursive letters. As viewers, we are pulled into a seemingly skipping record, asked to re-examine the cyclical repetition within popular culture. Acquiring references from different eras and ostensibly disparate objects, Dove Tail Joint elicits a sense of nostalgia and play.

The parachute descends from the rafters, giving the sense of landing into these cultural memories; we have just arrived into these nostalgic pop-isms.

‘twist again’, the title of an infectious song that asks the listener to move with the music.

Move with the music, ‘twist again’. The eye is drawn to two paintings of instantly recognisable faces
from classic film. Icons from different eras, both paintings draw from similar styles and expressions of menace. These are not happy faces, happy movies, happy times. Even if the name or movie is momentarily displaced in memory, the feeling of recognition is constant.

‘twist again’, written in audio tape. The material elicits a nostalgia for a specific era, and at the same time asks us to question what it is that is twisting. An embroidered rug, reminiscent of a child’s plaything, draws on childhood memories to elicit a sense of play.

‘twist again’, now drawn to the weightless texture of the tape and the parachute, they too have a playfulness. The memories or fantasies they bring forth, ask the visitor to return to the space and those memories, like returning to Oz.

‘twist again’, the rug reminisces, hints at a younger self, as compared to the eras and ages evoked by the tape and paintings.

To what are we returning if we twist again?

Shaped from strands of unravelled audiotape, ‘twist again’ implies that this is not the first or last time that we will be asked this question. The anachronistic use of tape, as opposed to vinyl, reflects upon the re-release of pop. What was originally a radio hit released on vinyl has aged into the next generation’s classic audio tape. Recycled and transformed, these iconographies link common experiences across ages.

As each object is considered again and again, making connections through cross-sections of popular culture, one begins to question the derivative nature of our recent cultural history. How does each seeming disparate element fit together? To find the answer one may turn to the title of Wild’s work, Dove Tail Joint. Carved from punctuated points in time, these icons come together to form a seamless joint. One cultural moment builds momentum for the next. This song, these objects have relevance extending beyond their eras; that appeal is not in the thing itself but in the connection to history.