James Trainor

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Case Study: ‘Half Full – Half Empty’ with Barbara Bloom

Case Study: ‘Half Full – Half Empty’ with Barbara Bloom

The artist’s first web-based project began with the barest of ideas: that two people would be having a conversation, and that their relationship would be revealed indirectly.

frieze, Issue 118, Oct 2008

How does this project relate to your earlier work?

There are aspects of this work that have been present in many other pieces. The subject of absence is certainly in many of my works in the guise of footprints, fingerprints, shadows … these traces are all what I have come to refer to as ‘visual innuendo’. Also there is often implied narrative (or narratives) in my work. The Diamond Lane (1981), for instance, is a film trailer for a movie that doesn’t exist. And The French Diplomat’s Office (1999) is a work that centres on a carpet that bears the footprints of a man and a woman who have been in a room. In Half Full – Half Empty the objects on the table indicate the existence of the absent people: a cup spills, a paper blows, a candle lights and is blown out etc. But also the glasses reflect what is going on in the room and beyond.

And then there is the element of time in everything I do. Though the pieces don’t move, that element does. I often consider part of what I do is a choreography, or dramaturgy, of the person looking at images and objects … not singular objects but the implicit meanings in combinations, ricocheted meanings and the space between them. This project not only literally takes place in time; it embraces the subject of time: in the past, present and future dialogues – but also with the form of a living still life, one that changes in time. The nature morte come to life.

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