Panya Clark Espinal

The Salvage Paradigm — Panya Clark

This artist statement by Panya Clark appears in the catalogue The Salvage Paradigm, published by YYZ Gallery and Wynick Tuck Gallery.

When considering the concept of The Salvage Paradigm, I realized that the so-called “weakness” of other cultures was primarily economic in relation to the dominant culture. When North American museums were established in the late 1800s, organized religion was being confronted by the growth of materialism and a boundless faith in education. Many American museums used the pretence of mass education to sanctify their true driving force — the compulsive acquisitiveness of the Collector. When the collection was bequeathed to the museum, the Collector almost invariably insisted that it be kept together and exhibited under his name. As a result, collections, at times, have become representations as much of their compilers as of their original creators.

The simultaneous decontextualization and recontextualization of objects is one of the most interesting of the many paradoxes of collecting and display. When examining the intrinsic values of an object, it has become necessary to question its transitive past and speculate on its transformative future.

Panya Clark