I’VE BEEN HIDING IN THE SMALLEST PLACES (2017)

(by Dodo Dayao)

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Life may begin at 40, as that hoary cliché goes, but death, apparently, begins at 40, too. Not in the literal sense, of course, but in the way all its permutations get sharpened into relief past a certain age.  The artist turned 40 recently and has been thinking about her own mortality again, but where her ruminations used to be tinged with a morbid sentimentality, it now feels rather fundamental and quotidian. It’s not so much the nearness of death that obsesses her but rather the slow rot that transpires in getting there, and the nonchalance with which she chooses to confront it. “The body withering away through time is not poetic. It is what it is.” I’ve Been Hiding In The Smallest Places, is literally a series of self-portraits, but not in the passive representational way self-portraits archive for posterity, but in the sense that these are literal portraits of her self, her skin, to be exact, but macroscopically abstracted and faux-gilded as to be unrecognizable even to herself, the process becoming both an act of hiding in plain sight and of willful distancing as the pattern dis-recognition of cracks and fissures map out its own topography of transcience, evoking the changes our bodies go through as age starts to have its way with us. “These images are a kind of memento mori. We must be casual with our own death, as it is so casual with us.”