The recent work of American artist Sara Allen Prigodich explores the malleability of memory, her abstract sculptures—in which ceramic forms fold and collapse wooden structures—give physical form to the unreliable nature of our own recollection.
“My ceramic sculptures are physical representations of our psychological incongruities”, she explains, “the doubts, questions, and shifts in perspectives through which we view the memories of our lives”. Our understanding of self is intimately linked to the narrative we have created about it; our identities bound up in our history as told to us by others, and by ourselves. But memory is notoriously unreliable; adaptable and fluid, a shapeshifter: “I find that a memory’s ability to mutate—to restructure reality or to erode the truth—is a potent source of inquiry for my work”, Prigodich explains.
The flesh-like appendages of her sculptures appear supple; their soft forms designed to create a sense of connection between “our innate humanness and the malleable perception of our memories”. In reality, the visually pliant masses are anything but, their folds solid and unmovable. In Prigodich’s sculptures, these forms slump over wooden frames of varying sizes and formations, structures that are intended to represent home, shelter, and protection. “The making process involves a conscious act of piecemeal construction,” Prigodich explains, “building as needed to conceal or support the centralized ceramic form. Their fixed state serves as a means to document a single instance of a recalled event, to create a calcified moment of the past.”