Jennifer Pattison

As a child, I loved to read books that were full of magic. While playing in the wild woods where I grew up, images from these miraculous stories would transcend the limits of my thoughts and become almost real. Memories of these moments have stayed with me into adulthood. But as an adult, I have found it difficult to find the space to experience esoteric events, given the western culture I've grown up in, says these things do not exist. I thought I had lost the ability to manifest imaginings to my childhood.

It wasn't until I read books such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garci­a Marquez that I realised I still had the capacity to do this. The words in these books triggered tangible feelings in me, and vivid images, that I had not experienced since I had stood in that Sussex forest as a child.

Through staged portraiture and close observation, this project explores extraordinary occurrences found in the interior world of characters in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Levitation, Ice & The Limits of Reality is a lyrical journey, exploring ghosts and miraculous disappearances, re-imagining the atmosphere of the novel, where superstitions prevail.

Magical realism is described by Massimo Bontempelli (1878-1960) as ‘the mysterious and fantastic quality of reality’ - a perfect fit for the curatorial theme Fact Fiction Fantasy. Mirroring the magical realism the novel is famed for, this series is particularly interested in paying special attention to the intimate moments where stories might have been whispered from generation to generation. To dry, dust filled places where death has visited, time stands still and afterlife is ever present. Celebrating strong female characters who possess unexplainable talents like eternal life or levitation. There is no linear narrative and time is disrupted, leaving the viewer space to wonder.

The series was produced during an artist residency in Rio de Janeiro where I was strongly influenced by its ancient nature. While searching for locations I never felt alone. Creeping alongside me were the aerial roots of orchids, clinging onto every tree and string like tendrils brushed the top of my head as I passed beneath them. At times I thought I could hear the plants growing.

I worked with street cast models and used second hand clothing from flea markets. Each item of clothing has it's own life; used and discarded over and over. The fabric takes on imprints and marks like faded memories, evidence of another life.