Written response by Aideen Doran

We have another written response to “See what the mirror sees without you standing in the way”, contributed by Aideen Doran:

The journeys undertaken by the muted artworks and artefacts on display from Tess Vaughan and Anna Sundt seem to speak both of the processes of art making and also of its transformative effect on objects and images.

The poem from which the show takes its name and starting point is rendered, via the now familiar mechanism of automated translating software, into nonsense. The stopping points along this journey are pages of evermore unfamiliar scripts, a series of disorienting characters, like a litany of strange utterances in the worlds languages. A Mirror to Reflect, so goes the title, but the reflection back is a broken and disjointed image, an unlikely variation.

Other more subtle variations abound across the many works- a series of flattened paper planes across pastel shades of craft paper, transformed again as a neat stack of paper awaiting the artist’s hand and the resulting awkward pile in the corner of the gallery.

Oil on paper drawings, images sourced from the Hubble telescope, generate strangely familiar shapes of unnamable places. The mechanism by which these images reach us again represents a series of mediations which disrupt any attempt at a coherent reading (of a landscape, a galaxy, a star system…).

Four books hang suspended from coat-hooks as the viewer moves between spaces – suspended with the kind of clear fishing line that hints at invisibility and lightness yet makes its presence known.

Unlisted on the gallery plan as artworks, there seems to be careful consideration of the shifts of colour between their bindings and of the possible conversations between their subject matters. Like the translated poem, they become strangely mute, suspended between a desire to communicate and the impossibility of being known.

They seem a counterpoint to the (again, unlisted) map which is pinned to the right hand wall where a viewer might begin their encounter with the works. The binding is folded back and pinned against the wall, the familiar map of Europe marked with place names in an unfamiliar language. Again it seems that a journey is suggested, but the orientation of travel remains unknown to us.

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