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Scripting every day

Shopping list. Menu for daily meals. Appointment with doctors. Clothes. Ornaments. Food. Grocery. Exquisite details of the very private, insignificant and ephemeral life of Emma Luciantonio which she listed obsessively, covering the minutest facets of her tiny world, stand exposed to the scrutiny of every curious eye on the walls of the Seagull Arts and Media Resource Centre.

In her latest work, A Daily Record, which she created specifically for this space, installation artist Gisele Amantea from Montreal, Canada, scanned, digitised and took out prints in several formats and sizes of the handwritten pages from the notebooks of this woman of no importance.

These were pasted like wallpaper (actually it needed a lot more care as each rectangular sheet is not very large), on three rooms of the gallery. The covers of the notebooks were scanned and the output was framed and displayed separately.

Amantea, who has exhibited extensively in Canada and elsewhere, explores the idea of domestic and decorative, and uses found things and material not valued in her work of large dimensions, sometime covering an entire room. Yet they create a sense of scale as well as detail, meant to draw the viewer.

A viewer can discover humour and sometimes even a sense of urgency in the entries of Luciantonio. Thus, in a way, the viewer relates to her situation, while, at the same time, regarding her with objectivity.

What Amantea does at Seagull is, in a way, the reverse of William Morris did for wallpapers. The British artist created beauty for use in everyday life. The Canadian artist, on the other hand, tries to draw the ordinary out of everyday life and place it in a larger history.

In the first hall, for instance, are pasted in facsimile the entries of an entire year from an annual calendar diary. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, even the 'shadows' of jottings on the reverse of a page are visible on the printouts. The rooms thus turn into large pieces of sculpture with surfaces of different texture.

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