Helen Mirra





Helen Mirra

Work from her oeuvre.

“My work can perhaps be described as conceptual ecology, or pragmatist artmaking. My disparate though generally minimalist practice occurs in varied scrap media. In various ways, moreover, I’ve been thinking in my making life about the relationships between scale, time spans, modesty and bluntness. I build in a simple way, trying to engage with the objects and ideas I find compelling so as to provoke and complicate my own thought processes. I hope that the things I make can command attention without asking for it.

Neither a specialist nor a generalist, I feel free to move between research interests, and to keep my investigations unrestricted. With sea-, rail-, and foot-transport as subjects, I’ve developed projects, and objects, in proximate relation to cartography, geography and geology. I approach the forest and the library similarly, treating language and visuality as an amalgam. Whatever the object of concern—a blanket, book, rock, or shipping pallet—I have always perceived physical, aesthetic thingness as being simultaneous with and of equal import to intellectual and emotional information. I imagine that my practice might hone how we perceive and order our knowledge of the world.

A natural consequence of my process is that I often find myself pulling ideas conceived elsewhere into another form. I have composed music based on Friedrich Froebel’s original kindergarten system; developed indexes that variously transpose books by novelist W.G. Sebald, activist Jane Addams, and Pragmatist philosophers John Dewey and William James; made paintings and sculptures alongside the microscripts of the Swiss-German writer Robert Walser, as a response to them and a way better to perceive their ways of making meaning. In such projects, and in my approach to ideas and to things, I am as much an editor as an author: it is important to me that the given or found should remain evident, even as I make various kinds of decisions—editorial, compositional, or other—upon or with the given.” – Helen Mirra

Full research statement here.

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