In Absentia

Sarah Wiideman's avatar Sarah Wiideman

Clothing is intimate and a highly personal form of self expression with complex and multilayered meanings and functions. Consider that clothing holds, covers and protects the body while providing one with an identity. It contributes to form a “self”. Clothing is a reflection of a culture with clues to class, race, history, history of costume, technology, gender and roles in society and the economy. In this work, “In Absentia I” and “ In Absentia II”, the alterations suggest trauma. The symbolic powers of the past life of the garments are denied and the viewer is perplexed and encouraged to reconsider. Expectations are re-examined and the symbolic meanings are implied but no longer present. The framework of these pieces is revealed and pared down to the skeletons. The dress, jacket and trousers are nearly weightless relieving the implied wearer of burdens of the symbols of identity, past lives and more. The work questions convention and symbolic values. Moreover, the missing body reflects on the vulnerable self (identity) and a vacancy. The clothing becomes something “other”. Clothing “speaks”. It communicates volumes and old, worn clothing is imbued with character, personal histories with stories to tell and with spirit. This work is intended as an aesthetic exploration of political, social, ideological issues – of status quo and personal stories. The hope is to inspire multiple readings, to engage viewers on many levels, to re-examine societal roles, individual desires, identities, egos, gender, cultural norms and power in dress. And, while the body is absent here, spirit is present.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 3-D
  • Depth: varying
  • Medium: Repurposed clothing
  • Width: varying
  • Year created: 2014
  • Height: varying