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Christina Pettersson

2006 Visual & Media Artists Fellowship Recipient



Click on images to enlarge

Untitled (Double Self Portrait, Incubus)
Untitled (Double Self Portrait, Incubus)
graphite on paper
42" x 132"


Untitled (Double Self Portrait, Incubus) -detail
Untitled (Double Self Portrait, Incubus), detail
graphite on paper


Untitled (Double Self Portrait, Incubus) -detail
(Double Self Portrait, Incubus), detail
graphite on paper


"William Faulkner’s House"
"William Faulkner’s House" graphite on paper
55" x 132" 

"William Faulkner’s House" detail
"William Faulkner’s House", detail
graphite on paper

"William Faulkner’s House" detail
"William Faulkner’s House", detail
graphite on paper


"Marquis de Sade's House"
"Marquis de Sade's House"
graphite on paper,



"Marquis de Sade's House" detail
"Marquis de Sade's House", detail
graphite on paper 



graphite on paper
42" x 110"


Mattress detail
"Mattress" (detail)
graphite on paper



Artist Statement

The psychoanalytical theorist Jacques Lacan insisted that language is created by absence or loss; a word becomes necessary only when the real object is gone. Recently, while drawing a brick I swiped from the foundation of William Faulkner’s house in Oxford, Mississippi, I was struck by the realization that the compulsion to draw can be created by the same absence or loss. The object, the brick itself, lay in front of me, but proved to be ultimately unknowable. While trying to record the infinite detail—to replicate it—my gaze volleyed back and forth from the brick to the drawing, from the looking to the remembering, from the encountering to the echoing, from the present to the past; the two parallel planes of meaning are caught in an orbit together but can never meet. A drawing of a brick, however painstakingly rendered, is no more the brick itself that the word brick. It can only be the isolation of a segment of space and time, a replication of my memory of it, and so floats axiomatically on a huge expanse of white paper (surely incited by Toba Khedoori). A kind of doppelganger brick or perhaps a shimmering avatar. If Faulkner experiences phantom limb syndrome, this could be his trembling lost arm.

 A doubled self-portrait similarly negates the notion of an autonomous individual, though not merely by duplication or division. Consider the Mobius Strip, appearing to have two sides but in fact only having one. From one viewpoint the two sides can be clearly distinguished, but when the strip is traversed as a whole, both sides are simultaneously obfuscating them. The portraits’ inner communication reverberates with the clandestine language of twins or deceased lovers, known or shared only by the initiated. An almost incestuous two-ness twists about the Moebius Strip. Stitches and sutures lay bare the futile attempt at a re-unity. The resultant figures are less static entities than portraits about their formation and transformation. They assume a model that grounds itself on an underlying lack rather than wholeness. Fragments of myths clothe the figures in their own indelible instability. Even the linear visual quality suggesting a narrative progression only proves to be a cinematic loop. These storied echoes are ultimately about the restive and denuding language of desire and regret, the point where “violence meets tenderness, waking meets dream, blond meets brunette, lipstick meets blood, where something very sweet and innocuous becomes something very sick and degrading at the very border where opposites becomes both discrete and indistinguishable.” (Reni Celeste)


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