Abigail DeVille

Abigail DeVille
The original night
Has not loosened up
its hard mysterious bones
not even the first day has spilled
its clarities           
about unbelievable things
Not a planet
releases its timid presence
In the infinite skies
Not even a brief thread
Of brilliance from a star
Scratches the thick foliage
Of the dense shade”
–Francisco Antonio Cruz, Genesis (excerpt), 1970-76
“These undecipherable markings on the captive body render a kind of hieroglyphics
of the flesh whose severe disjunctures come to be hidden to the cultural seeing by
skin color. We might well ask if this phenomenon of marking and branding actually
“transfers” from one generation to another, finding its various symbolic
substitutions in an efficacy of meanings that repeat initiating moments?”
– Hortense J. Spillers

Genetic material and coding that inscribes who we are on a molecular level are
records of time. Our bodies are the agents and witnesses of time. We are ancient.
The same elements that were dispersed within the first moment after the big bang
are the same elements that are found in our bodies. Thinking about the wisdom of
the universe that’s locked within us, I search as an archeologist looking for clues in
contemporary society for the infinite and eternal. In my work I am looking to
reconcile two spatial relationships, the claustrophobic spaces of urban interiors and
the infinite expanse of the universe. Through the poetry of everyday experience and
American history I create black hole room-sized sculptures that speak to different
strands in American society’s material culture. Black holes are containers that are
laden with forgotten information, the absence of light, power, knowledge and the
harbinger of historical inaccuracies. I use celestial forms to think about our place in
history, that links us to the beginning of time. Garbage contains the material history
of the present and links to the past.