Image: Votive No. 3 (2021) Savina Hopkins (detail). Image courtesy of the artist.
Screen / Time
by Savina Hopkins
Tuesday 22 March to Wednesday 21 September, 2022
In today’s Covid-conscious world, plexiglass is used as a barrier to infection in the form of ‘sneeze screens’ in many retail and service settings. It is considered a stable and impenetrable material. In ‘Screen / Time’, plexiglass acts as a deteriorating membrane, a clouded lens. Hopkins’ photographs capture the interiors of cemetery votive boxes taken through their scratched plexiglass screens. The screens, installed to protect and provide access to the contents of the votive boxes, function as a threshold or transitional space between the living and the dead, the visible and the indistinct. Over time the screens have degraded due to a combination of UV light damage, heat, pollution, neglect and general weathering. The effect of these forces is cumulative, and the once clear plexiglass is rendered semi-opaque.
Shot through hazy screens, partially obscured objects appear ─ candles, oil burners, a cleaning rag, oil housed in drink bottles and mustard jars. Such personal offerings and utensils are used in ceremonial, ritualistic and prosaic ways. The mourning and contemplation that occurs at these sites is embodied by these objects. These incidental arrangements are reminiscent of still life oil paintings, as the damaged screen’s surface serves to flatten the picture plane. These meditative scenes of liminal spaces highlight the inevitable instability of materials and our bodies.
About the artist
Savina Hopkins lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Her art practice encompasses collage, assemblage, painting and photography. Through her artwork she explores the interface between damage and preservation and creates work where nostalgia and discomfort mingle. Hopkins has a B.A. in Fine Art (Painting) from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Post Graduate Diploma (Scientific Illustration) from the University of Newcastle. Her work is held in private and public collections including the National Archives of Australia, St Vincent’s Hospital and the State Library Victoria.