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The Memory Palace


Emily Blom’s ‘The Memory Palace’ considers the notion of a perfect memory. With reference to the ancient memory palace technique, otherwise known as the method of Ioci, used to enhance the minds ability to visualise, organise and recall. Her work looks at the changing and unreliable nature of memory and how it governs our relationships with the past.


These works are not portraits; rather than be a representation of a single person, each piece captures a thought or moment in time, as small visions and glimpses of the past. They do not necessarily depict reality, but the individuals' version of it.


The figures and landscapes are somewhat heightened, colours either seem more intense or appear somewhere between sepia and monotone, resulting in an image that exists in an ever so slightly surreal, suspended state. What you experience seems somewhat familiar, almost nostalgic, but is also fragmented and nonsensical.  The distinction between reality and fiction unravels in all its wonder. 


Figures appear as an old photograph, flattened by the nature of print and frozen in that point of time.   Importantly, the works seem ephemeral, as though they are slowly disintegrating, that the paper is starting to discolour and decay; reflective of how memory itself, no matter how clear, can change and become lost over time. They appear as ghosts of the past. 


Emily’s works are essentially created memories, composed from a fusion of historical family photographs and public images from film, media and advertising. This merging of the real and imagined, the personal and public, mimics the way in which our memories become distorted and glorified, clouded by a vast array of external influences. 


Emily utilises a range of printmaking, graffiti and painting techniques to create dreamlike figurative works that balance between realism and abstraction, as if they exist in some unknown state between the present and the past, fiction and fact, now and once upon a time.

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