Laurie Le Clair
ENCYCLOPEDIA - A Matter of Record
Often the spirits that continue to inhabit long-buried documents—letters, journals, photographs and the like—are not necessarily those of people. Instead, they may be the ghosts of places and times. Rediscovering deteriorated old papers, touching them and especially smelling their musty fragrance can often jolt you unprepared into history and acquaint you with baggage you didn’t know you carried. Even blank pieces of yellowed paper in an old well-worn notebook can emerge as sensuous moments that awaken aches of passion and a longing for a certain place or time.
I recently revisited the contents of a couple of old trunks that I had been toting around with me through many moves for many years, preserving—for an unlikely posterity—old family letters, love letters, troubled letters, various writings, documents, photographs and, especially, minutely detailed diaries that spanned and recorded about thirteen years of my adventurous if rocky passage into adulthood. All deeply personal and private. Some painfully
private. From time to time I remembered they were there in those trunks with a growing panic, knowing that I should destroy them lest they come to light at some most inappropriate time.
The works in this show—using those documents of mine, albeit cut up, shuffled and damaged—refer to the widely shared habit of humankind to document and preserve our most private and personal times and histories, with persistent hope that they matter not just to us but to the outcome of our species.