Echolalia's Original Archive
Echolalia's Walsall Archive
Echolalia's Archive is the unique collection of items related to the theme of 'the rose', including gifts, messages and artefacts from Echolalia's exhibitions and events which she has been building since the early days of her career. We learn the story of Echolalia's life through the texts that accompany each item in the Archive. Some of the gifts she has received are mementos presented to her in memory of family and friends. Some have been specially made for her and all have been especially selected for her. Many of these gifts have been given to her anonymously. As a collection they carry the spirit of her style and signature themes - the colour pink; the rose motif - the image, materials and scent of the rose and the rose garden; certain kinds of social acts, behaviours and etiquettes and sound which seems like an incessant cacophony of discordant singing.
Echolalia exhibited Selections from her Archive in the exhibition In Memoriam at The New Art Gallery Walsall 21 November 2000 to 21 January 2001 and in Terrains des roses at the Shetland Museum in 1997.
An excerpt from the catalogue to the exhibition Pretext Heteronyms (1995) provides some information about Echolalia’s life:
"It is tempting to look at her life in order to explain her work, for it is rich with possible connections — her great aunt who was an accomplished flower painter, her fascination with history, her obsessive collecting of English ephemera. In childhood she had unnamed 'friends' with whom her mother discouraged her from playing, and she claimed to have conversations with a neighbour who had died.
While there is much in Echolalia’s biography to help understand her work, it is more fruitful to look beyond conventional ways of perceiving life stories. If we consider Echolalia’s work as she looks at her own history, moving across time periods and arbitrary boundaries of geography, we can begin to make different readings. Echolalia considers her life to date from the year 1853 and actively regards the period from this time to the present as part of her history. By the time she was thirteen years old, she had determined three former lives. The first, a girl killed in a fire in 1857, aged four years; the second, a boy who disappeared at sea, aged eight years; the third, a woman who died in childbirth, aged twenty-seven.
Echolalia has turned to these lives for anonymous 'actions' which she calls memorias. These take various forms and are characterised by the regularity with which they occur. She alludes to her first death in the death notices she publishes on the same date every year in different newspapers. On 29 April every year Echolalia dresses in disguise and launches into the sea twenty-four sealed jars containing paper boats with anonymous cries for help. She is obsessed by childbirth, and although she has no children of her own, she has sent 786 birth notices of a baby girl over a period of twenty-seven years.
The memorias have their origin in Echolalia's anonymous celebrations of her birthday. These celebrations began at the time of her fifteenth birthday when her mother was in hospital. Her Italian grandmother forbid her to celebrate with a party (in Argentina the fifteenth birthday is the year for special celebration). Nonetheless Echolalia planned a party and sent invitations to people she didn't know but imagined she would like to invite. She wrapped presents and made decorations but never indicated the place of the party, so no one could actually attend. Every year since that birthday she sends invitations for a party to fifteen people she doesn't know."
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