Headlands Center for the Arts

Gala Porras-Kim

california | visual
Artist in Residence Program 2018

Artist Statement

My work questions how knowledge is acquired and tests the potential of the art object to function as an epistemological tool outside of its traditional, art historical context. Recent projects examine the ultimate and literal signifier of culture: language, particularly its sounds. I aim to question the social and political contexts that influence the representation of language and history, and to make art objects through the process of learning. The work comes from a research-based practice that considers how intangible things, such as sounds, language and history, have been represented through different methodologies in the fields of linguistics, history, and conservation. It takes into account the way people represent sounds that make up communication with an object, through codes or a written form, and conversely, how objects can be used to make an official narrative through artifacts.

While At Headlands

While at Headlands I will be making reconstructions with found broken ancient sherds. Because there is not enough information to conserve the work, there is room to make interpretations. The object will be one of an infinite number of potential ways that these artifacts could have taken form. Each work is built from a relationship to the formal qualities of the fragment, which is information available to understand its initial qualities.

I will be making the work using conservation methodologies, and the final form will exist as an artifact, reconstruction, and sculpture simultaneously, since there is no way to make a definitive definition regarding the nature of these objects.

The works are meant to question the ethics and policy of conservation, how to recreate things from the past when we don’t know what they are, and what factors are used to define an object.

Selected Works