Published by Spector Books. Text by Chloë Bass, Tyler Coburn, Anaïs Duplan, Pablo Helguera, Su-Yee Lin, Adam Wade, Jamieson Webster.
Whether a keepsake, memento or heirloom, everyone has their own talismans: objects with a value that is only of significance to their owner. The meaning of such objects gets assigned silently, internally, often without any words being articulated, and yet when we explain their importance, it reveals much about who we are. Queens-based artist, curator and educator Elisabeth Smolarz (born 1976) approaches these objects as elements in a social and anthropological process. She visited 200 people in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and spent an afternoon with them talking about the objects they had selected. In dialogue with these collaborators, she then developed an installation of the individual objects—an arrangement that ultimately produces a portrait of the person. The photographic still lifes are accompanied by short texts by a range of writers who share their responses to these portraits.