Muck brings nostalgia to Modern Fuel

Local artist showcases her moving installation Memory with help from the Kingston community

Martina Muck’s Memory installation.
Martina Muck’s Memory installation.
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Visual artist Martina Muck brought her unique artistic vision and plenty of nostalgia from her native Germany to Kingston’s Modern Fuel Gallery with her installation “Memory.”

The contemporary installation exhibition ran from May 3 until June 14 in Modern Fuel Gallery’s main gallery space. The exhibit gave viewers a chance to explore sentimentality through art as they peered into vessels of memory disguised as common objects.

When walking into the gallery space for the first time, I initially noticed an arrangement of objects scattered throughout the floor in the middle section of the large open space. Each item was individually illuminated by a fluorescent light hanging from the ceiling, which created both a comforting warm glow and a sense of mystery within the shadows that each item casts.

The assemblage consisted of items such as bowls, cutlery, vases, small containers and several more intricate, but also seemingly mundane objects.

Each individual item held a special significance to a particular person, which the artist relayed through a series of captions.

“This jewelry box made of stone was given to me as a token of friendship,” read one caption. “It was crafted by Native American Indians living in Arizona. I appreciate it because it is not something that I would have purchased on my own if it had not been given to me as a gift.”

This detailed but brief description was just one out of 20 that Muck collected from Kingston natives to match the items that are included in the exhibition.

What this exhibition emphasizesd was how we associate individual memories and ideas with certain places, objects and smells. The items that Muck provided are unfamiliar and, therefore are of no particular personal significance, even though they might be treasured by another. In this way, Muck used personal experience to transcend the mundane.

The items, which were scattered evenly about the gallery space, were accented by the warm lighting of the gallery. The combination created a series of puddle-like reflections of soft light along the floor, appearing almost like a constellation. As I removed myself from reality and wandered into the wells of nostaligia and shared experience, presented through everyday objects by Muck, I was forced to find, and appreciate,  meaning in the mundane.

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