Fade Away is the name of Cica Ghost’s latest region-wide installation, which opened on May 5th, 2017. The title is drawn from a quote by Bob Dylan, “Some people seem to fade away but then when they are truly gone, it’s like they didn’t fade away at all.” It’s a quote from his 2004 memoirs, Chronicles 1, which ostensibly looks back on his arrival in New York and immersion into Greenwich Village life.
It’s a quote which has tended to be used as a reflection of mortality, the passage of time and / or the sometimes transient nature of relationships. It is a fitting foundation for this installation, which is a deeply personal piece for Cica, for reasons those who know her are aware, and which I’m not about to reveal here without her permission. Suffice it to say, the meaning behind it is something with which we all identify at certain points in our lives.
Within a ghostly, misted landscape sits a bedroom, part of an old house, where a gaunt figure has apparently just risen from bed. An alarm clock states the time is some ten minutes before six. As we watch another version of the figure fades into view, apparently departing the room, looking over his shoulder, and down along a path, more versions of the figure fade in and out of view, copies of the alarm clock still frozen at ten before six sit close by, until the figure reaches a pair of wooden gates set within a rickety fence.
Nor is this all; outside of the house, and along part of the route, ghoulish creatures appear to watch and mock the figure’s progress, while he also passes through groups of cloaked figures, apparently caught in their own world. One more of these hooded figures sits apart from the rest, before a table, two cats providing him with company. Another alarm clock sits close by, also showing the same time.
Symbolism here is heavy – but what does it all mean? Perhaps the answer lies with a lone figure of a woman standing to one side of these various tableaux. She stands separated from them by the rickety fence the lone figure appears to be making his way without ever actually arriving, watching his progress.
Is the fence perhaps a metaphor, the dividing like between the woman’s physical presence in the world, and her memories of someone no longer in her life? If so, this perhaps makes the various tableaux across the rest of the region memories of that loved one, and his passage through (her) life. If so, might the hooded figures perhaps be more distant remembrances of time spent with him, echoes from deep within memory? As Dylan also said, “I’ll let you be in my dreams, if I can be in yours.”
Life is transient; however we feel about ourselves and those around us, we – and they – are only mortal. This would seem to be the message within the ghoulish characters gathered around the house. But at the same time, there is more to each of us than our physical presence, although that is often the most missed. Through memories, we can hold on to those dear to us, however they have moved on from their physical presence in our lives so that, to one again use Dylan’s words, “when they are truly gone, it’s like they didn’t fade away at all.”
Fade Away is a poignant, heartfelt piece, rich in symbolism and deep in personal meaning, deserving to be seen and contemplated.
- Fade Away (Noula, rated: Moderate)