The Bed Room
Elly Heise, MFA
213 x 138 cm.
1685 Oak Bed Installation with Photographs
Printed onto Paris Chiffon
How does the past inspire an imagined story? This artwork considers the inaccessible narratives we seek in history and dare to desire, inviting viewers to consider their own trajectories. “Related Repose” navigates memory and potential stories within space. It explores a relationship between the historic 1685 Jacobian oak bed and altered photographic archives printed onto chiffon. The photographs consist of the artist’s own archives and contemporary imagery. These images are manipulated into one photograph that speaks to fragmented and fictionalized memories, while the ephemeral qualities of the shuddering fabric remind the viewer that memory space eludes them.
Famed neurologist Oliver Sacks described the need for memory as a need for identity. He explained that imaginative memory can be understood as a subconscious process that fills in memory gaps in the absence of external verification, which is done in efforts to meet our need for identity.
Artist Elly Heise used this human tendency to inspire the making of “Related Repose":
When I first encountered the bed, I imagined what its story was. I fictionalized its memories in my mind. Using this is a starting point, I began assembling strips of photographs, compiling various memory fragments into one image. I wanted to make a projected memory space with a dual spatiality. Much like the historic bed, the fabric photograph suggests something beyond its physicality. It is indicative of a space somewhere between psychological and physical, a membrane existing somewhere between the physical world and the imaginative. I see the represented spaces within “Related Repose” as a place where our memories and identifying narratives reside, a fluid, subjective, and intangible place.
Heise’s practice explores the nature of our relationship to spaces through recording, archive, and memory. Using the photographic medium she considers the innate desire to inhabit imagined space, and how this desire potentially impacts our relationships with intrinsic memory and sensory experiences.
Elly Heise is a first-generation Canadian artist with Norwegian-German parentage. Heise attended the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver where she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015, majoring in Photography. She recently graduated in April 2020 from the University of Victoria with a Master’s in Fine Arts. While continuing to actively practice and exhibit in Western Canada, she also recently completed residencies in Switzerland and Portugal.
360 degree view