In 2013 Perth-based Tarryn Gill undertook a residency at the Freud Museum in London. After being privy to Freud’s personal collection of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Asian antiquities and the studio of his daughter and fellow analyst, Anna Freud, Gill has created a series of sound sculptures for Magic Object. Titled The Guardians (2015) these stitched and sewn sculptures are reminiscent of characters found in folktales, pop culture, myths and legends and emit anthropomorphic sounds from their uncanny forms. Like the objects in Freud’s possession, Gill’s eerie works appear like seers or prophets. Their strong and powerful presence is similar to the Japanese tomb ornaments known as Haniwa, which are arranged around a burial site, in order to both protect the dead but also drive away evil. Like psychoanalysis ran in the Freud family, Gill’s forbearers worked with their hands as seamstresses, knitters, carpenters and leather smiths. Gill’s grandfather was also deaf which required the artist to communicate with him through sign language. It is not surprising that hands and handwork have particular significance for her, both personally and artistically. As writer Ted Snell writes ‘Her self-reflexive interrogations into the rituals we construct around life and death combine personal memories with characters drawn from mythology and funerary art to activate the space between the earthly and other-worldly, where we can re-examine, rethink and reimagine our identity.’
Tarryn Gill’s work will be on display at the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art during Magic Object.