What is it to be human? Piece of the day – Saturday

We all have a story – Emma Bird

We all have a story – Emma Bird

So. For my last piece of the day (the exhibition closes today) I have chosen We all have a story by Emma Bird, an intricate sculpture in thin wire.

Emma says this about the piece:

We (being human), we laugh, we cry, we love, we are full of a range of emotions, we make things, we break things, we play, we interact with others, we reproduce. Essentially we all have a story. Our stories are unique, we are all unique, this piece celebrates this concept: we all have a story that is being written.

It is a positive piece, and perhaps one we could too easily enjoy or dismiss as being ‘representative’ (which way you go on that depends very much on what you think art is and what it should do). I think that misses the point. We read the three-dimensional arrangements of wire and we see a person, in part because the lines and folds of the wire have been set to convey that. But that selection, the outlines Emma has chosen to put in wire, are not natural or automatic, any more than the story of our lives. When we tell someone about ourselves we select, edit and omit, using the lines we have to shape the story something to the way we want it. Are we heroic, wronged, selfless? The strands of life we select will be chosen and bent to that shape.

This is a piece which really benefits from being seen in the round: if you are in Newcastle upon Tyne today (Saturday 25th July) you have until 4 pm to see it at the Holy Biscuit, along with the rest of the What Is It To Be Human? exhibition. It will be on view at other venues around the country throughout the rest of the year. Check www.whatisittobehuman.co.uk for details.

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