Lived Experience of Time

Lived Experience of Time is a bronze casting of a tree stump planted on the artist’s day of birth, by her grandmother in the family garden. The tree was later ravaged by a disease the same year her grandmother passed away. In the manner of an archaeological dig, Roch-Cuerrier began to unearth its roots and immortalize them. The project is both an elegy to her grandmother and a fossilized measure of her own life. By crystallizing the lifespan of this living form, she seeks to explore the possibility of materializing the lived and felt experience of time.

Julie Roch-Cuerrier, Photo documentation of the unearthing process, December 2016

In the fall of 2016, the artist gradually unearthed the stump over a period of several months. A performative aspect is attached to this action: in the physicality of the task and the repetition of the gesture. An intimate contact is created with the object while unearthing it: the fragility of the object and the small cavity containing the roots required a slowing down of her process. There is an importance of pace and the passage of time in the artist’s practice: it is part of her questioning. There is a meditative quality associated with the repetitiveness of the act of digging. It was a moment of introspection during which the artist began to question her perception of duration: her lived and felt experience of time.

Julie Roch-Cuerrier, Lived Experience of Time, 2018, bronze, 200 x 180 x 155 cm 
Installation view, Croissance/Growth, Division Gallery, 2018

Different temporalities meet in this object: her own life, the life of her grandmother, and the life of the tree. The object is also intriguing from the point of view of its shape and its relation to space. The roots of a tree evolve and grow underground; we are aware of their presence, but we can only imagine them. By digging up its roots, though present but usually hidden from view, an unusual form is revealed. The Lived Experience of Time explores the idea of spectrality: the point where the material and the immaterial, the real and the imaginary, meet.