"The opening moments of Emma White’s video Instructions for a still life (snowclone) 2007 are accompanied by the subtitle ‘Think about real things’. As the video proceeds, the hand held camera pans across a table of objects: a packet of round stickers is positioned in front of a mug; this mug, with the letter ‘E’ emblazoned upon it, sits to the left of a post-it-note that is peeling off the table. It is a jumble of bits and pieces. Yet, as the camera slowly pans, your eyes begin to consider the subtitle’s suggestion. ‘Pay attention, look harder’ – instructs the subtitle and the sense that the real and the illusory are intermingled amongst the table’s objects soon develops. A pencil reveals itself to be as flat as a pancake. The texture and imperfection of the mug presented in the video is not as one might remember from their own mug that holds their morning coffee. In fact, Instructions for a still life (snowclone) presents a complex still life of mass-produced objects coupled with obsessively labour-intensive replicas. White’s finely sculpted fimo replicas encourage the eyes to follow a trail of imitation and reproduction, as White creates her own version of everyday objects. White’s sculptural replicas reward the viewer who takes a moment to look more closely. Beyond this though, Instructions for a still life (snowclone) actively describes and teases out the dynamics of looking. The playful subtitles become an active voice, articulating the way that our eyes carve out a sense of the things around us. Indeed there are small clues littered throughout the still life objects that hint at the need for keen observation; from the note on one postit-note that reads ‘take time’, to the note pad filled with doodles of reading glasses. All these elements encourage a simple action: to look and look again."
Words by Liang Luscombe and Patrice Sharkey from Liang Luscombe's website.
Image: Emma White, Instructions for a still life (snowclone) DVD still, 2007.