We call friends who are personally close to us, yet they can be physically very far away. In this project Kirsch connects those once close to him in his old homeland with places that have grown close to his heart in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Portraits of ‘people from the old world’ are printed onto flags, and these friends and family members are then individually taken to select and often remote places in the format of a flag during the artist’s frequent travels and explorations of the close and far reaches of our country. The ever-present wind makes the faces sway and wave and connect with the environment to which they are unfolded. The flow and waves unite them with the elements they are immersed into.
“During one of my early returns to the old world, in fact the first one, I took a series of black and white film still portraits of people who were close to me over there. I printed these on black and white photo paper the traditional way. I later enlarged and transferred them into screens to print onto flags.”
The elements – wind, water, rain, snow, sleet, sun – they all grab hold of the portraits and connect them, absorb them, warp them, change them – just like a person’s memory is ultimately altered over time by living in a new and different environment. Which has been Aotearoa New Zealand for about the last 20 years for the artist.
This process is documented in still and moving images as well as in personal notes. Ultimately it will be presented in an exhibition bringing together the different elements as one single experience.