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Your Breath is Your Defense - Meg Rotzel, 2000-2009

In 2000 I began a series of artworks that were to be worn and used. Specifically made for me, these sewn projects were produced so I could come to terms with difficult events in my life. I started off by making a “Mourning Hood”, which allowed me to deal with my brother’s early death by simply locating the physical sensations of grief upon my body. The series continued, touching on issues of communication, citizenship and mortality. Save for a few instances where I demonstrated the projects, the work was not shown. The projects represented my private dealings and I felt like they did not need to weather the formal rigors of an exhibition and I doubted their status as art objects. I could not imagine an exhibition context that could add to their value or communicate their significance. They had done their work and I had learned from them.

I recently unpacked these projects and their accompanying texts to see if they had held up over the past ten years. Much of the work’s intentions remain intact and still hold value for me, the work describes situations of reflection, ethics, citizenship and courage. Still personal, they locate individual responsibility upon the wearer, and activate what I think of as a reflective ethical sphere around them. I’m sharing the original texts and drawings with contemporary markups to show where my thinking has changed, and where I continue to find worth. I still do not believe that they are artworks in themselves, but designed objects that require sincere thought.

Meg Rotzel, April 2009











Small Gifts:

People are like mountains (2001), poem by Grace Lee, cotton
handkerchief. Distributed by the artist throughout Museum of Fine Arts
Boston, December 1, 2001, World AIDS Day.People are like mountains (2001), poem by Grace Lee, cotton
handkerchief. Distributed by the artist throughout Museum of Fine Arts
Boston, December 1, 2001, World AIDS Day.
Unanimous (2001),  text edited by the artist from the Declaration of
Independence.Unanimous (2001), text edited by the artist from the Declaration of
Independence.
It is going to take a long time (2003), given to friends during difficult times.It is going to take a long time (2003), given to friends during difficult times.