In case I haven’t said it enough, I pretty much adore Susan Hiller. There’s something about her work that really makes my heart smile. Each piece reveals so many necessary questions, but also just looks like good, curious fun.
In describing this area of Hiller’s work, art historian Dr. Alexandra Kokoli draws attention to its palpable political subtext: “Hiller’s work unearths the repressed permeability … of … unstable yet prized constructs, such as rationality and consciousness, aesthetic value and artistic canons.
Of her many works, my favourite is From the Freud Museum (1991-96). I love the way that there is this exhibitionist interplay across all her selected media, from, at and after. The way in which each series of objects is cradled in similar boxes, showcased all together in large museum glass, and then documented in an artist book. It's as though each display serves as curation within curation.
What I think is positioned here is an extended and episodic view of my personal sense of inhabiting an historically-specific museum of culture with permeable boundaries, which might as well be called ‘The Freud Museum.’ Of course, I’m not the only inhabitant. Probably artists function by simultaneously enacting the reciprocal roles of curator and subject, therapist and client; I’ve worked by collecting objects, orchestrating relationships, and inventing fluid taxonomies, while not excluding myself from them… my starting points were artless, worthless artefacts and materials— rubbish, discards, fragments, trivia and reproductions— which seemed to carry an aura of memory and to hint at meaning something, something that made me want to work with them and on them.
Some of Susan’s words conveyed the treasuring for personal things and how they have a higher meaning according to our experience with them. How they envelop our “self.”