Emma Fielden 'between stars, between stones' explores infinite divisibility

Dominik Mersch Gallery
Nov 30, 2018 2:53AM

Emma Fielden makes artworks that explore ideas spanning the infinite to the infinitesimal, the largest astronomical structures to the smallest constituents of matter. Her solo show ‘between stars, between stones’ (1 November - 25 November 2018) reflects upon ideas relating to the divisibility of space and matter, touching on particle physics and astronomy as well as Zeno’s philosophical paradoxes on infinity. Fielden’s sensitive approach to materials is apparent across the drawing, sculpture, video and installation works in this show, many of which have evolved from her time as the Australian representative at the ArtOMI residency in New York this year. Scroll down to read her artist statement below.

‘We are two molecules floating together in space and our distance is infinite… then the sound of birds’, 2018, single channel high definition video, 5:26 min, edition of 5 + 1AP, developed and performed at Art Omi Artists Residency, filmed by Orkhan Huseynov

Between any two given points there is a space, in geometry it is called a line. Theoretically, any line is infinitely divisible – any line can be divided into an infinite number of points. To clarify this, think of dividing a line in half, then divide each of those halves in half again, and so on endlessly. The line segments become infinitely many and their size becomes infinitesimal as they move toward, but never actually reach, zero.

The Greek philosopher Zeno (c. 490 – 430 BC) reflected upon this idea of infinite divisibility in his paradox of The Tortoise and Achilles, in which the great warrior and athlete Achilles can never beat the tortoise in a race. The paradox can be summarised and rephrased as follows. Suppose I wish to travel from point A to point B. First I must cover half the distance between the two points, then I must cover half of the remaining distance, then half of the next remaining distance, and so on endlessly. The consequence is that I can never complete a journey between point A and point B. Similarly, points A and B can never meet.

With these thoughts in mind I ask myself, what actually is the distance between two points? What is the distance between two stars, between two mountains, two stones, two humans? Like two points in space or two points in time, can individuals ever really coexist in a mutual psychological space of true understanding? Can we get inside another person’s head, or are we ultimately separated by an infinitely divisible and uncrossable void?

Conversely, we might see ourselves and everything that surrounds us as simply different manifestations of the same stuff – varied states of matter, unified by our subatomic makeup. But once this matter takes on the complexity of form, and possibly consciousness, how close is this connection really?

Installation view of 'between stars, beteen stones' at Dominik Mersch Gallery

Emma Fielden, ‘An Infinite Line (1km)’, 2017, 1 kilometre of hand cut linen thread, dimensions variable

Dominik Mersch Gallery