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wax on paper, graphite in paper

Dimensions variable

Emergency! Is body of work developed in response to glacial archaeology and is part of a wider project of the same name. It began in 2018, at Musées cantonaux du Valais, Switzerland,  drawing artefacts that have emerged from alpine glaciers as the ice in which they have been preserved for 50, 500 or 5000 years is now melting at unprecedented rates. This glacial archaeology embodies a position of extreme precarity: these rare and valuable finds preserve important knowledge about the human past, yet insight comes at the cost of environmental change and threatened futures. Moreover, the artefacts themselves, once released from their frozen slumber, will rapidly decay and disintegrate when exposed. The Emergency! project aims to explore this precarity asking how might processes of drawing – with its use of marking and erasure, presence and absence – negotiate these tensions and find new ways of thinking through loss and change?


Here, images of the archaeology are rendered by trapping dust between gossamer fine sheets of waxed paper. The image is held in wax so, like the archaeology they depict, are contingent on their environmental conditions to survive – if exposed to heat, wax holding the tracing in place will melt and the image fade away.


The research behind the development of the drawings was supported by a Henry Moore Research Fellowship 2021 and undertaken in dialogue with Musées cantonaux du Valais, Switzerland. 

More about the project here>>

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