8 December 2016 – 11 March 2017

The Mnemonic Mirror is an artist-initiated project exploring the complex processes of memory.

Though much of the information we commit to memory is the humdrum of the everyday, many of our more meaningful recollections are collected subconsciously—stockpiled until specific stimuli bring them to the fore.

Artists, in particular, find much value in memory. In trying to gain a deeper understanding of their artistic process, they regularly delve into personal memory banks. Works of art, therefore, can often be seen as mnemonic devices.

For this project, the curators have imagined memory as a compendium of things read, felt, observed, or otherwise learnt, which creates our own personal archives.

In recent times, the recording of personal images and text on social media has changed the roles that chronology and geography play in the shaping and making of memory. Where personal memories were once stored at the edges of the mind—comprised of hazy recollection and nostalgia—they now exist as an exact record, easier to access and consider. This blurring of the line between past and present has, in turn, created a new resource for artists, as well as a space from which we might explore the past and communicate the issues of the future. The Mnemonic Mirror questions the implications of these changes and scrutinises the consequences, both good and bad.

Emily Hunt Sheraton was a hoarder 2016 Glazed stoneware 2 components: 20 x 8 x 7cm, 12 x 20 x 10cm Collection: The artist Courtesy: The Commercial, Sydney Photographer: Sofia Freeman.

Emily Hunt Sheraton was a hoarder 2016  Glazed stoneware 2 components: 20 x 8 x 7cm, 12 x 20 x 10cm Collection: The artist  Courtesy: The Commercial, Sydney  Photographer: Sofia Freeman

Public events

7 March 2017: Painting as Unforgetting: Clare Milledge and Archie Moore

Join artists Clare Milledge (Sydney) and Archie Moore (Brisbane) as they discuss their work in the context of the exhibition The Mnemonic Mirror at the Griffith University Art Gallery.

The artists will consider the value of personal memory and the contexts of social and cultural histories as inspiration for their works.

11 March 2017: Memory as an Artistic Resource: Debra Phillips in Conversation with Angela Goddard

Sydney-based artist Debra Phillips' practice focuses on how systems of knowledge influence our understanding of the world. Working primarily in photography, and using both digital and analogue techniques, Phillips explores the medium as an imperfect form of record keeping and its role in everyday history making.

Join Griffith Artworks Director Angela Goddard and the artist as they discuss anachronistic modes of production and the value of memories as artistic resources.

Secondary school education resource

This resource has been created for use by teachers and secondary students to engage with artworks and themes in The Mnemonic Mirror exhibition at Griffith University Art Gallery. The concepts underpinning the exhibition provide an ideal focus for units of study relating to memory and identity. This resource can be utilised by school groups visiting the exhibition or to assist with learning experiences in the classroom.

Teachers can use the questions featured in this resource to prompt individual responses from students or as a starting point for wider discussion.

In planning and writing this resource Griffith University Art Gallery has consulted the Australian Curriculum: Visual Arts, Years 7 to 10 and the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s Visual Art (2007) syllabus.

Download The Mnemonic Mirror education resource (PDF 5.9MB)