Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kathryn Lipke's 'Ghost Vessel'

The poetic and moving short film below, Ghost Vessel (2008), is by artist, textile scholar, and filmmaker Kathryn Lipke (b. 1939). Outraged over the looting and vandalism of the National Museum of Antiquities in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003, Lipke built and then burned a 15-foot vessel, which she set adrift on a frozen river.* As you watch the abandoned vessel's slow procession, listen closely for the sounds that arise within the flowing water and melting ice: a heart beat, the last buzzing of a monitor signaling a heart is flatlining, and gunshots. The metaphor is beautiful and haunting. 

Camera work is by Ernst Michel; music is by Michael Bernal.

Lipke is a professor emeritus in the Department of Studio Art at Concordia University in Montreal and docent professor of sculpture at the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland. She lives and works in Montreal and Vermont, where she maintains a studio on the North Branch River.

Lipke's exhibition "Kathryn Lipke: In Search of the Garden of Eden" is on view through May 5 at Stewart Hall Art Gallery, Pointe Claire Cultural Centre, Pointe Claire, Quebec, Canada.

In doing some research, I found out that in 1994 Lipke built a structure she titled Phantom Vessel, which is described in this very interesting piece on her 1996 exhibition "Spirit of Place" (pdf) at the Rovaniemi Art Museum in Finland.

My thanks to painter Holly Friesen from whom I learned of Kathryn Lipke and her "Ghost Vessel".

* This information accompanies the video on its YouTube page.

1 comment:

Holly Friesen said...

Wonderful post, Maureen. I was most delighted to have stumbled across Kathryn Lipke's work. Each piece in the show at the Stewart Hall Gallery was significant and moving for me. Great that you posted her full video of Ghost Vessel. I found it mesmerizing and watched it several times.