Louise Elscot

The creation of an artwork for me is usually a solitary practice. My installations deal mainly with landscape and are mostly ephemeral. Once completed, they are photographed and left to the elements which play the final role in the cycle of events.

The point of departure from this practice, during my time at Compeung, has been the participation of other people in the conclusion of a work. This final stage in the process creates a shared experience of the work in a communal setting.

This body of work has been mostly influenced by living in the community of Doi Saket, in particular, the decoration and symbolism used for the Loi Krathong Festival. During this festival, exquisitely crafted sculptural works made from flowers and banana leaves are woven into intricate patterns and are lit with candles and incense to be floated down the river. Translucent white paper lanterns are lit en-masse and floated up to the heavens in a warm and uplifting installation in the night sky, dictated by wind and heat and lasting until the candle burns out. These, for me, have been transient works of great beauty, which are shared communally on a large scale. The candle, in its own single state, is also a transient moment, creating light, warmth and beauty which lasts until the wax has been burnt.

The choice of materials such as candles and incense has been based on the observation of, and participation in ceremonies and rituals performed at the local Doi Saket temples, and the Loi Krathong Festival. These materials have been used in conjunction with natural materials such as ochres, mud, spices and seed pods.

Other influences which have informed my work during my stay at Compeung have been the use of colour in food, colours that are found in the natural landscape, and the symbolism of colour used in ritual.

Each change of environment provides me with a renewed enthusiasm and inspiration for my work. The cultural and symbolic landscape of this area has been a great stimulus for me during my stay here at Compeung’s Artist-in-Residence Project.

Louise Elscot
December, 2008
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