Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Uplifting or in your face

Eight years ago Auckland artist Campbell Patterson stood in his parents' living room and picked his mother up in his arms. He then stood holding her like some sort of Bizarro World Pieta for as long as he could. That first attempt (one minute 47 seconds) features trembling legs and a few near drops as the artist’s strength ran out but he got stronger. Every year at around the same time Patterson and his mother perform the same feat and each time it is videoed becoming part of a series known as Lifting my mother for as long as I can.

Different cultures, different responses. In Greenland the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson has also been making a long term series of videos. Since 2000 Kjartansson and his mother have repeated their performance once every five years. Titled Me and My Mother, in these works Kjartansson’s mother repeatedly spits in his face.

Smiling or spitting, mothers, you’ve got to love them.

Images: top, Ragnar Kjartansson Me and My Mother and bottom, Campbell Patterson Lifting my mother for as long as I can