How do we remember?

Why do we keep memorabilia of our lives? Is it to remind ourselves of our past life? Or is it for others to remember us by?

“Memoirs let people fashion themselves into characters they want other people, if not themselves, to accept.”

(Maya Jasanoff The Dawn Watch p52 Biography of Joseph Conrad)

 Helen de Mouilpied was born in 1914 and died in 1987. Thirty years later the material she kept about herself is presented by the artist through his own memories.Your own interpretation will confer significance to these memories. Why was this material kept and not other items? What has determined the selection from the material for this exhibition? 

That selection and assemblage is further opportunity for fallible interpretation and invention.How does this material trigger our own ways of remembering?

Immersing ourselves in the details of past lives can reinforce our sense of presence and belonging in our own lives.This first part of the exhibition is made up of diaries, photos letters and other physical memories. Displayed chronologically it makes up the substance of one remembered life.

There is a fallibility in the interpretation of what someone leaves behind, both by those who knew them and those who did not.I knew Helen de Mouilpied well but those who did not will interpret her life through memories from their own.

All the material in the exhibition had been kept by her. There is a strong local connection.The family lived close by at 47  Cholmeley Park for some of the most formative years of her life. She attended Channing School and later lived on Grove End Terrace at the end of the war and for the first years of her second marriage.

Adam Forman March 2019

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