Mary Kelly

CIRCA 1968


compressed lint and projected light
100" x 105" x 1.25"

Image/screen composed of 180 lint units, 5.25 x 11.5 inches each,
mounted on MDF board, (without glass or frame), recessed in the wall,
approximate depth 1.50''.

Pulsing light, CD continuous loop, projected (overhead) onto the image/screen

Mary Kelly's most recent project "Circa 1968" will be shown Whitney Museum 2004 Biennial Exhibition (March 10 - May 30, 2004).
Kelly's work has consistently addressed questions of memory and history, focusing on the interdependence of individual recollections and historical "truth" formed by the changing filters of the present moment.

In Circa 1968 Kelly's ephemeral reconstruction of the past presents one such transformative moment in history, giving material incarnation to an emblematic image of demonstrators in Paris, May 13,1968. Taken by photojournalist Jean-Pierre Rey and seen in many contexts including Life Magazine, the image depicts a young woman, hoisted on a man's shoulders, waving a flag high above the crowd a la Liberty Leading the People.

The Biennial curator, Debra Singer writes in the exhbition catalog::

" Made of lint generated from doing thousands of pounds of laundry, Circa 1968 plays off of different associations among the photographic, the painterly, and the cinematic image. The single image embedded in the lint marks a contradiction in time, speaking both to the instant it depicts as well as to the extended duration of time implicit in the labor-intensive process of fabricating the image.

The flickering of a projected light onto the lint image and the and the blurred, soft-edged qualities of its gradations of white, gray, and black recall silent film from decades ago, just as its just-out-reach legibility conveys a sense of distance and inaccessible pasts, creating an effect akin to an after-image imprinted on one's memory."