Folly

  • Katie Saunders (Australia)
    painting (oil on canvas)

    Modern Art Museum, Yerevan
    February 17-27, 2010

Folly – foolish, stubborn; absurd; foolish actions

‘Well, God’s sole usefulness would be to guarantee innocence, and I am inclined to see religion rather as a huge laundering venture… Since then, soap has been lacking, our faces are dirty, and we wipe one another’s noses. All dunces, all punished, let’s spit on one another and – hurry! To the little-ease!’ (The Fall, Albert Camus, 1956)

The pomegranate has symbolic roots in all religions and is continually referenced in classical art. Symbolically linked to fertility and good fortune, birth, death and healing. The many seeds of the pomegranate can represent unity; its crown like top gives it an association to royalty. It is the fruit that bound Persephone to the underground with Hades – lord of the dead and ruler of the nether world – for the winter months. In her absence from the earth the days were dark and cold, allowing nothing to grow.

The dunce figure a fool who is being punished, he retaliates by pulling apart the pomegranate and all its myths. He is, in his foolish way, pulling apart traditions and poking fun at history and expected behavior that traditional values dictate. He is also at times stuck in this fruit whose size has become monstrous, threatening to consume him, at times spitting him out. As history and traditions can sometimes consume us all, it is with humour and irony that we will break from these heavy and sometimes oppressive ideals.

The pomegranate dominates this body of work, each canvas tells a different story, some of loneliness, some of hope, sadness, joy and folly. Sometimes the dunce figure is the aggressor, sometimes he is a victim, a fool or even a hero. But whatever his actions he is intrinsically linked to the pomegranate for better or worse.

Prior to coming to Armenia I was aware and very conscious of the significant religious history of the Caucus region as well as the weighty political history of Armenia. What struck me upon arrival, however, was the sense of humor deeply ingrained within the people. I have approached these themes of history, religion, tradition and art with a playfulness that is directly influenced from the general humor of Armenian people. (Katie Saunders, 2010)

This body of work by Australian artist Katie Saunders was conceived in Armenia at the ‘Art Commune’ International Artist-in-Residence Program (ACSL) from October 2009 to February, 2010, and the final stage of the artist’s stay was marked by her solo exhibition entitled ‘Folly’.