A Rose contemplates the role of one's name as semiotic device. The title of the work calls to mind Shakespeare's now ubiquitous line 'a rose by any other name would smell as sweet' or Gertrude Stein's 'a rose is a rose, is a rose... ', Roland Barthes of course also waxed lyrical about the semiotic connotations of the rose. The work attempts to address what indeed is in a name?
Using the book The Golden Bough to highlight the various cultural associations with name utterance, the viewer is invited to ponder the sociological connection of a name to the person named, and the taboo of using names at all. In doing so the work effectively addresses how language itself acts as a beacon for deeper anthropological meaning. Part serious contemplation, part farce, Krieg's sense of humour comes into play. In this case, her desperate want to avoid using her name in conjunction with ther practice is pitted hopelessly against the alternative; as the text provides an illustration of a cultural faux pas: refusing to offer one's name when asked.
The work's working title was A Rose by the Name of Lily, because Susan is Hebrew for lily. The circle completes itself when in the Hebrew language, lily is somewhat synonymous with rose, such that when asking a Hebrew speaker what Susan means, both answers will equally come back to you.
A Rose, 2013; 'The Golden Bough', Scrabble racks, scrabble tiles, the artist's former name, Dimensions variable.
My Greatest Fear is Inevitable
This workcontemplates the uncertainty that the artist faces when bringing a work to fruition, and the anxiety of sending personal meaning into the world, with a knowledge that it will likely be misinterpreted and possibly remain entirely inaccessible to the viewer.
In an effort to emphasise the notion of an indecipherable message, this work is executed in audio-visual format. With time as an element, the individual signs play out to the viewer, suspending them within the context of viewing a message - and one that they will likely not interpret by the message end.
In this format the work's meditative quality is enhanced, and it becomes a fully fledged contemplation of the limitations of language, and the idea of the artwork as semiotic threshold.
My Greatest Fear is Inevitable, My Greatest Fear is that I will be Misunderstood, 2012; Single-channel digital film, 2mins 30sec
The Creative Act
The Creative Act is an expression of concepts associated with those presented by Umberto Eco in his 1962 essay 'The Open Work'. With this in mind it postulates upon the nature of any given text or artwork, and subsequent interpretation - where is meaning located exactly? In the work, or in the mind of the viewer? Where does the artwork begin? And where does it end? Like ideas were addressed by Roland Barthes, notably in his 1967 essay 'The Death of the Author', and, following this in his 1987 essay 'On Reading.'
Five statements exist in the work. Through the scrambling of these texts, and the viewer's attempts to decipher them, a theatrical element arises, with viewers involuntarily performing a theatre of sorts, in multiple acts, as they engage with the work. Fittingly, the title of the work is taken from Duchamp's quote 'The creative act is not performed by the artist alone.'
The Creative Act, 2013; Scrabble tiles, five statements, Dimensions variable.
When The Last Reader Reads No More
When The Last Reader Reads No More, 2013; Acetate, plastic, tacks, and ink; Dimensions variable, 168 tiles, each 4 x 6cm.
After Babel, Loss
After Babel, Loss seems at first arresting, presenting materiality within an otherwise conceptually driven practice. Krieg explains: '...it was as if my hands had built the work, in spite of my mind.'
The wooden blocks skewered into this work themselves fit the definition of what linguists call a digital code, and become their own display of language. Abacus-like and hauntingly tactile, in this manner the actual materiality seems to posses a meaning akin to concepts presented in other works; of language suspended, open for play, open to conjecture... this work hints at numeracy, duality, and the multiplicity of reading.
'A distinction between the materially driven and the conceptually driven parts of my practice? Divisions appear and disappear in one's mind. It all merges together. Through each work I become gradually more aware of my own sensibilities as an artist, garnering insights over time, it becomes clearer to me what nature of things I am drawn to, what patterns I seem destined to reproduce...' SJK
After Babel, Loss, 2013; Re-engineered wood palettes, steel, nails; 105 x 42 x 10cm
When Your own Initials Are Enough
When Your Own Initials Are Enough is a rumination on the artist's name as semiotic device. It contemplates the [semiotic] impact of the artist name on the reception of the work in the mind of the viewer. Does the artist name influence the prestige of the work? Does gender, race or nationality bring associations to the work? Recognizable names from the tropes of art history are assembled and reassembled here using the letters of the artist's own name. As artist manipulates semiotic codes within the work, can they not also manipulate these codes beyond and surrounding the work? Naming and renaming is laid upon the table. Quoting Bottega Veneta in the title of the work is a reference to the designer's stance against the cult of the designer. And so this work subtly questions the cult of the artist.
When Your Own Initials Are Enough, 2013; Dictionary of Painters, Book of Pseudonyms, Artist books; Dimensions variable
And Silence, Like a Poultice, Comes, To Heal the Blows of Sound
This work looks upon the semiotic exchange between artist and audience. It postulates the nature of transfer between the artist and an audience who does not receive the meaning of the work; glancing, passing by.
The text that constructs the work has been extracted from stanzas of poetry, from the writings of Oscar Wilde and Oliver Wendell Holmes. The title of the work comes from Holmes, and from Wilde:
Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
We had crossed each other's way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
We had no word to say
The two interwoven stanzas present the idea of an absence of exchange between two parties. Rather than a sense of foreboding, of aching, desperate distance or melancholy which existed at the thought of being misunderstood by audiences in earlier work My Greatest Fear, this work differs greatly in mood. It instead displays an appreciative sense of calm and almost elation, that exists with regard to the artwork as a fog of semiotic medium. This gap of meaning transfer here becomes a welcome divide, as if the space between the artist and viewer has become a breathing space, a relief.
And Silence, Like a Poultice, Comes, To Heal the Blows of Sound, 2013; Acetate, plastic, tacks, and ink; Dimensions variable, 150 tiles, each 4 x 6 cm
Unknown, 2013; Found wood, acetate, pins, and ink; 30 x 8 x 4cm.
Tangere Tangible Intangible
SJK's focus settles momentarily on the hands as key makers, conductors of language, and as ritualistic aids to ceremony - in the everyday. This humble subject matter is here visible performing manual tasks, forming symbols, levitating signs, and grappling with the incorporeal. The artist pays homage to hands.
Imbedded within her ongoing semiotic inquiry is a fascination with hands as agents of communication; in systematized form through sign language, in an open format through gestural hand movement. Hands produce subtle movements to assist or negate the spoken word. A gesture in silence conveys meaning.
Alongside this interest in language and gesture runs a deep respect for the artisan's hand, the mechanics of the maker, and the work of the working hands. Hands are also used in spiritual endeavor; cupped in prayer, raised in elation, or solemn in religious ritual.
Hands are an artist's tool, and have thus been referenced by multiple artists throughout history. SJK cites Geunter Brus' Action Paintings as a vivid work in her memory. Likewise she recalls Hans Bellmer's photographic treatment of hands, and Alfred Stieglitz's images of Georgia O'Keeffe's hands, as other strong imagery in her mind's eye.