Together with three Iranian artists, Traci Kelly will participate virtually in a residency program (Vayu Art Residency) for two weeks in Kashan, Iran. During this program, along with artist talk and research work around Kelly’s art practice, she will be working on two videos (“Sugar Bleed” & “Give Take Lose Make”). The videos, in dialogue with one another, are inspired by Kelly’s interest in Kashan’s medieval tiles and also her own subjectivity.
My residency work is influenced by medieval Kashan tiles. I’m interested in the tiles because they are close to alchemy and the transformative nature of materials. They bring together the mathematical in their use of geometrical design and physics and chemistry in the nature of the pigments and materials and how they interact together dynamically pre- and post-firing. Philosophically I position clay close to the body as a material traditionally taken from the landscape and worked by hand. It is a material that bears every type of human touch on the way to producing an object, and forms part of the earth to which we will return.
The video works further explore my interest in skin as an exchanging interface in personal and cultural production and as a site of emergent subjectivity. They are entwined in complex conversations about my personal subjectivity as a product of the now declined British Empire, working with every day materials made abundant through the occupation of other countries and bodies, such as tea and sugar, and the harvesting of my own body in the use of blood.
The work is a thinking space for myself and audiences rather than a definitive end point.