The artist has always found herself dogged by the possibility that reality is a fragmented and unfixed thing. She suffers from a post-structuralist conviction that we construct an object’s identity purely from how we categorize it – we create identity by the act of identifying, and reality itself from the event of perception and cognition.
This may seem quite an abstract concern, but for the artist herself it is a daily reality because of the nature of her disabilities.
Hence, much of Anna’s work is concerned with the nature of reality, and its disparity from the perceptions, cognitions, or presentations we take as such. She seeks to undermine assumptions about the nature of the world as we perceive it, and show that the perceptions we accept as an index of reality are merely misinterpreted conceptions.
The artist often uses books or other text-ridden paper as a sculptural material. The use of reincarnated text in installation demonstrates how function (and not material or content) dictates identity, by showing how simply one object can be transformed into another without changing state. A body of information-bearing content is transformed into a structural or decorative object, to which the text can be either irrelevant (or even illegible – see True Story) or supremely relevant (Breathing Room).
The use of books is further motivated by a fascination with how language and cognition encases even our inner world, always mediating, and forever preventing us from directly apprehending even our own thoughts. Similarly, the work also explores the interface between the outer and (our) inner world, questioning whether, in fact, such a distinction can be maintained. Again these are urgent concerns for the artist because of the nature of her disabilities.
In a related vein, The Artist’s portraiture work partly explores her concern that one’s very identity could be as manifold as the number of other consciousnesses we encounter. She often focuses on what ‘leaks out’, rather than what is controlled by the subject’s self-presentation. An emotion or trait from beneath the veneer, and often not how the subject would want to be seen. Sometimes this is taken further: Masks, for example, brings digital under-layers to the surface – foregrounding a different component of the image fundamentally changes what we perceive its nature to be, and draws our attention to the unattended composite nature of both image and reality.
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