“… although we know a lot about the brain, we still have not found the mind”
Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
In Self Portrait; Artist’s Brain, Lada Dedić utilises the intricate, almost surgical process of repetitive stitching to explore themes of meditative contemplation and the interplay of science and art. The work is an act of endurance and an exploration of duality; chronicling the passage of time.
The ritualistic practice takes time, it is meditative, methodical and rhythmic; supporting an ongoing investigation of the discipline required to remain in the moment while performing an act of endurance where every stitch is purposeful and calculated.
In 1999, Lada was given the opportunity to volunteer in a long-term research program where a series of MRI brain scans were taken periodically every few years putting her in a somewhat unique position of having a range of MRI scans of her own brain spanning decades.
Stitching in silence, she uses the rhythmic process for meditative contemplation. The actual image of the brain is not apparent until the final stages of the process. Due to the complexity of making an image which is entirely invisible to the artist, strong single-pointed concentration is required, if errors are made, they are difficult to undo.
Inspired by a quote from Tenzin Palmo’s book Reflections on a Mountain Lake:
“although we know a lot about the brain, we still have not found the mind”
Self Portrait: Artist’s Brain is a search for and exploration of that intangible mind illustrated in each piece by the guide lines stitched also as a reflection of the cross-sectional cut lines seen in neuroimaging.
In her multifaceted ritualistic practice Lada recites the Buddhist mantra of compassion while completing randomly selected pixels. Therefore, veneration is granted to each individual stitch since it is impossible to know whether particular stitches have been loaded with mantra.
Lada’s cultural background has a rich history of embroidery where it is customary to complete one stitch backwards, an intentional error indicating that a craftsperson cannot achieve the perfection of God. In Buddhism however, a non-theistic tradition, it is taught that the potential for perfection is in all beings; which is why these works include an ‘impermanence stitch’, also stitched backwards, however, left loose so it could theoretically be undone and re-stitched in the correct direction, illustrating the notion of this inherent perfection in us all and our ability to change.
10% of all proceeds will be donated to NeuRA, Neuroscience Research Australia
Read more: The Interplay of Art and Science, Neura, 15 February 2018