Susan Buret
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Artist Statement June 2008




‘ - breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things, and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old distinction between the Same and the Other’

From ‘The Order of Things’ by Michel Foucault.




Observing our current inundation with documents of officialdom, birth certificates, licenses, passports and permits, my artworks are inquiries about identity as applied by bureaucracy. They explore the idea that these documents are not only descriptive but also function as tools for the imposition of power. I seek to challenge the hierarchical concepts of power and authority by deconstructing these documents with an office paper shredder, the favoured tool of an administration in retreat.

I shred multiple copies of these documents, nullifying their value as a medium for classification and tagging, voiding their powers to confer or deny access. Then, I reconstruct the documents on a much larger scale, symbolically reasserting the rights and uniqueness of the individual.

I overlay the works by stamping them with multiple templates carved from linoleum, echoing the authoritative stamp of government. In the diptychs, I juxtapose these intricately layered patterns with bolder, geometric designs. I intend for the patterned surfaces to hint at the realm of the domestic and local by suggesting textiles, fences and floors. I select patterns that are used across many cultures to give individuality and human scale to our environment. These patterns are often of spiritual significance and, they are the ornamentation we use them to give a sense of scale, place and identity to our domain.