I remember my daughter taking her first steps – months of expectation for those split seconds, witnessed by an entire family, just before she realized the freedom she attained - a little wobble and hands searching for something to hold onto and balance before the first fall. She was free, and inside the bipedal motion – time ran – and then suddenly stopped again as she fell – over and over. We watch for what seemed like hours that first evening, as she reminded us of life's beauty and fragility.
Propelled in the fluidity of steps, walking sets us in motion. We find ourselves between the mountainsides, on the stones of the crumbling paths and the ever-disappearing mud roads. The rhythm and intimacy of walking in step with someone takes us to place only understood by quantum physics. Rushing through the rain with a lover, step-in-step, the pace quickening as the rain intensifies, watching the clouds blown by the wind dispel all their water, transcended by the intimacy of a path for two shared as if one.
walking is made of many paths - the single and the universal. It is of the familiar and the unknown, is a hiker finishing an expedition, is a child taking it’s first step, is a couple walking hand-in-hand, and is a pacing runner. It is the child leaving home, the mourners with a coffin, the pilgrimage of the faithful, and the refuges crossing borders. It is wo/man - one and together - single-file and a crowd. It is common activity, revealing our humanity and connectedness.
David Henry Thoreau in his book walking notes that “If you are ready to leave father and mother, brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again - if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man - then you are ready for a walk."
Reworked and reprocessed deteriorating and damaged photographs - found in vintage albums are central figures in the series - orphaned on the EBay marketplace and now part of my growing collection - are reframed and their stories retold. Like actors from a Charlie Chaplin silent movie they spur our imagination. Their gritty black and white presence - almost always - tinged with ochre, damaged by water, bent and torn – point to how vulnerable and fragile life is. Entangled with new landscapes of the Canadian prairies and Danish coastline - which also adopt the chiaroscuro palette - time is one and all paths interconnect. The black-robed figure – the incarnation of destiny appears in walking as she has in other series. Her presence points to a beautiful uncertainty and seems appropriate given the series focus on relationships, rituals, remembrance, loss and shifting identity and the fundamental question of “How to live?” It is an eternal question in the history of mankind and remains unanswered in walking.