Gilty: an exhibition experienced twice

Published: 29.01.2015
Claire McArdle
Edited by:
Claire McArdle
Edited at:
Edited on:
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This video showcases an exhibition by contemporary jeweller Claire McArdle at No Vacancy gallery. With "Gilty: an exhibition experienced twice", the Australian artist explores the difference between what we see and reality. 

The First Experience 
If an illusion deceives your perception does it make the first understanding invalid?
Does a gilt object betray us in some way or does it possess a truth of its own?
A skin of gold matches the contours of the bead in precise detail. It masks the underlying material of the piece which makes up 99% of its volume and 0% of its surface. How do you value the piece? 
Is this piece pretending to be something else or is it exactly what it is and we have deceived ourselves with visual assumptions?
If you know that the chain carrying the beads, the chain which is almost fully covered, is made of 18ct gold, how do you value the piece now? 
Is this a truth wrapped in a deception? Or is it just a piece to be perceived with available knowledge and accepted for its form and known materiality?
Is this work guilty for being gilty?

The exhibition was opened by Mark Edgoose. At the end of his speech he walked to the piece behind him. 
Snapped off an arm, popped it in his mouth and walked away. Much to the shock of the watchers.

The Second Experience 
Neckpieces experienced once as wearable gilt forms. Experienced again as edible gilt beads revealing the true gold chain beneath. The pieces have not changed, they are as they always were. But the circumstances of perception have shifted. 
If an illusion deceives your perception does it make the first understanding invalid? 
Does the object betray us in some way or does it possess a truth of its own? 
Objects once untouchable, displayed on gallery walls are now free to be consumed. Something on the body to become something of the body. The chocolate interior of the bead, once masked, is used by our bodies as the piece performs a new energetic role. While the gilt exterior, once admired for its value giving properties, passes through to not affect. What is their value now? 
The perception of these pieces changes but their materiality does not. Were they a truth wrapped in a deception? Or were they to be perceived and perceived again with the available knowledge and accepted for their form and materiality? 
Gone is the grand display of the beads, leaving behind the chain. Stripped of its original purpose, it must take on a new role. Is it a memory keeper for its previous form? Or is it free to be perceived as it is now? No longer gilty, just gold.

The exhibition lasted for a week. For those who visited they found the empty chains with an accompanying photograph of its previous form.

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Claire McArdle