Listen – Talk – Learn
Since my family’s move to Chicago, I have been waking up next to a fine work of art titled, “Unravelling.” Its purpose and function varies from aesthetic prop to personal gauge. Like a mirror, it reflects my current state of mind. It also acts as a window into the possibilities of personal stories yet untold.
The fourth in a series of original paper-cuts by Beatrice Coron, one can make out the silhouette of a bust in which clearly incised sinuous lines meander throughout its cavity. Smaller silhouetted images include a figure seated at the center foreground. Arched above her is a child carrying a balloon on the left alongside three birds inflight. A cityscape occupies the top tier of the picture along with a helicopter, manned by a single person, while three winged figures appear on the right.
My first attempt to find meaning in this piece of work meshed with the webbed framework of the bust. I associated these networks of black capillaries to the upheaval and chaos that swirled in my heart as my move from Brooklyn to Chicago upended my sense of self, identity and belonging. For months, I encased myself in this state of mind, imprisoning myself in this chaotic labyrinth of uncertainty.
As I began to find solid footing in my new home, my relationship with this artwork started to change. Today I ascribe a positive image of strength to this piece. The diminutive size of the grounded seated figure is my focal point of interest. Seated in half-lotus position, she radiates energy that propels everyone around her to take flight, to soar and be free, including her imagination.
This core figure’s act of unveiling or unwinding precipitates the arrival of something new – perhaps hope, a new perspective or story. A pathway emerges. A (re)solution is revealed. The Greek myth of Ariadne’s thread comes to mind. Theseus utilizes Ariadne’s thread to escape from the Minotaur’s labyrinth. Aridane’s thread becomes the means through which she is then able to leave her old life and embark on a new adventure.
Beatrice Coron stated, “In life, and in papercutting, everything is connected. One story leads to another.” At the end of our viewing experience with any work of art, the artist not only presents us with a physical creation but also hands us an invisible thread, if you will, in order that we may continue to unravel the mysteries behind their stories and more significantly our own.
The paper cutting process is also a form of unravelling of sorts. Just as a sculptor chisels away at excess marble to reveal a refined form, Beatrice cuts away the excesses papery and exposes the negative space, which gives life to her stories. Like her artful process, the subject of “Unravelling” relates to the core figure ridding herself of what’s inessential in order to function with certitude. Stripped off all the extraneous weight of imposed decorum or unwanted baggage, she emits strands of authenticity and beams of hope.