Various works: 1) Valentine cards I made for my Grandfather who died on Valentine's Day, a day he disliked (2020) 2) 7 Allen Park Drive [Commissioned Lock made backwards from past family home key] (2020) 3) Hard Drives (2020) Steven Maybury

None Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

My name is Steven Maybury. I am an Irish artist living and working in south Rotterdam.

In the past year my work has been focused on transforming memory into monument and exploring the implications of what this can mean. The use of the term monument I’m proposing is quite the opposite to the monumental or the permanent public display of a significant historical reference, but instead relating to its origins - the act of reminding us and guiding us.

A mindset in the current global pandemic that I find is certainly appropriate.

With my latest works I am proposing the term to be explored in a private manner. I am expanding on the importance of the private and personal and suggesting them as monumental also. The act of remembering as making is essential in this ongoing process and has resulted in qualities in the works such as open end-ness, continuous processes or reacting to environments. I’d like through this type of representation, to think of the past and our memories as always changing and never set in stone, so to speak. These monuments are open and invite re-interpretations of themselves on a continuous basis.

Many of the works in my practice have a lot to do with remembering and reimagining the past. Using personal stories that have found their way into my practice and more recently articulating the convergence of these memories into personal monuments. The results highlight the compression of time into physical forms that aim to share the sensibilities of memory. I want to think about what memories mean, how they shift and change, how they can be evoked with a touch, or a look.

In a time where it is unclear what the future holds, be it individually, economically or politically, what does become clear Is the time for reflection. My grandmother has passed away recently, a victim of Coronavirus in Ireland. The act of remembering has become a survival tool for me and my family as we are all scattered around the world. Experiencing first-hand a death from a distance, where nobody in my family was able to travel home, we found ourselves relying on digital formats as spaces for reflection – photos and videos. In discussions with members of my family, this experience has added to the feeling of distance that is already prevalent. I find myself requiring something more. The very act of translating memory into monument is generative in thought, feelings and emotions and interacts with the materially discursive nature and performativity of how we remember.

“Matter feels, converses, suffers, desires, yearns and remembers.” Karen Barad, Intra-active conference, Utrecht (2009)

The last year of my studio practice has been investigating this, seeking out shared poetic moments and movements that can tangibly represent the past. I find myself a year on, personally relying on such methods, propelling its potential further than I could have imagined at a time of urgency.

With Steven Maybury’s work, 7 Allen Park Drive (2020), the exhibition is part of Unlocked/Reconnected, an initiative celebrating the reopening of museums and other ‘houses of art’ that now have permission to open their doors following the lockdown.