The Forgotten Few | 2014
The Forgotten Few was the third solo exhibition in Berlin by British Artist Jill Tegan Doherty. The exhibition presents an installation of around 110 plaster birds, each individually cast from hand made latex moulds, made from clay birds and suspended from a wooden structure. Also exhibited is a series of monoprints to support the installation.
According to a spurious gospel, when Christ was a child, he made little birds of clay. Blowing into his creations, they were given life by his breath and instantly flew away. A lovely thought or a picturesque portrayal of how the creatures in this world were perhaps formed and continue to exist. Of course even with this statement, fable or historical truth, there will always remain the unfortunate few which for whatever reason were not blessed with the same life giving breath. The ones perhaps that literally ceased to exist. Formed but not given life.
These Forgotten Few are left striving to create an existence of their own, yearning perhaps to find the hand that dealt them and let that hand feel their physical presence. Allowing it strength to take on a purpose, or a life. Perhaps they are striving to find the hand that formed them and to breathe, with their own breath, onto that hand and watch as all life seeps away from it.
The installation represents their presence, their place, and their significance. The birds themselves are based on the way in which bird skins are catalogued, dried out with the wings folded against the body into a seemingly lifeless form. The internal organs and most of the skeleton inside the skin have been removed and the body is filled with cotton. These collections are archives of avian diversity with specimens arranged in drawers side by side in taxonomic order.
The Forgotten Few installation allows these birds to be placed within a suspended existence, out in the open, to be observered in a very different manner. This exhibition explores exercises of the mind which are powerful enough to create a very physical reality.
Jill Tegan Doherty