Mark Kessell

©2007 Mark Kessell unless
specified. All rights reserved.
Web site by Jana Blavius
Grace From Indifference
Grace From Indifference
Serial No. 1264

Artist Statement

Every human being shares so much in common with others and yet each of us is utterly unique. What is the source of our endlessly variable individuality? What drives the development of personality from newborn to adult? Are we without identity at birth? Do we actually have a clear identity as adults? Which of our perceptions about others, and more importantly about ourselves, are an illusion?

We seem, often, to be collectively suffering a cognitive version of Anton-Babinski syndrome, (sometimes known as “Anton’s Delusion”) a rare brain disorder in which a blind person denies their disability and behaves as if they can see – often with disastrous consequences.

I began my work as an artist using the daguerreotype, a photographic process with a surface so reflective that the viewer necessarily sees him/herself in the image. The medium is unique – I can never make two the same - and conveys an impression of dimensionality that appears to extend, just out of reach, behind the plane of the image. It is a perfect metaphor for many of the ideas which intrigue me.

For some series (for example: Perfect Specimens, or To Be Determined) , my titles are part of this process, suggestive phrases which resonate with the image and yet remain mysterious and idiosyncratic. They offer a minute snippet from a complex narrative. Between an artwork and its title viewers can imagine…anything they choose.

My work – whether a daguerreotype or a print, a sculpture or a room-sized installation - encourages viewers to reflect, sometimes literally, on who we are and how we came to be that way. What are our origins? How different are we from other animals? Is it possible to understand another person? Or ourselves?

My art offers no conclusions about the nature of human identity as I have none. I merely offer stimuli for the imagination.