23 Kyndal Koen

memory-making / making memory

by Kyndal Koen

This exhibition embodies the highly nuanced and richly textured nature in which memory exists within our minds. As a child, vivid, saturated and deeply personal memories were naturally made, but after I experienced an abrupt and emotionally traumatic immigration process, these memories became blurred and disturbed, resulting in a somewhat loss of memory. 

This complex relationship with my childhood memories and experiences kickstarted my desire to explore memory further and particularly how it exists visually once these memories are stored. My painting practice takes on the visualisation of memory as abstract and organic ‘memory-scapes’ to represent the delicate process of memory-making, which can be described as a ‘stratification of time’ or a ‘history of layers’. 

These memory-scapes are developed with a mixed-media approach, using a combination of Alcohol Ink, PVA paint, Spray Paint, Epoxy Resin and Oil Paint, which further elaborates the multi-vocal, tactile and expressive nature of memory-making. The reference images used for each painting are a combination of numerous photographs that are digitally transformed into one expressive image. 

The digital transformation is symbolic of the physical distortion of memory as time passes. Each reference contains photographs from respective geographical locations from periods of my life. The artworks are connected by geographical coastlines and national highways as my work follows my own personal memory-making journey between the island of Mauritius and South Africa. Four locations are used within the process, namely Johannesburg (South Africa), Blue Bay (Mauritius), Margate (South Africa) and Grahamstown (South Africa). The signifying red thread does not only indicate the physical border-crossing journey, but also my memory-making journey.