The tumbleweed is a symbol of a mythical American West with wide-open spaces that are the perfect stage for escape, retreat, and reinvention. Detached from its roots and blown by the wind, it disperses seeds in order to reproduce while gradually destroying itself in the process. It is a hybrid structure containing elements of both death and rebirth.
In Ecstatic, an actual tumbleweed circumnavigates the perimeter of a low podium with a stuttering motion. Its brambly form stands in contrast to the smooth, dark mirrored surface of the podium. Its normally random movement through open landscape is here contained and controlled, though not entirely stilled. It has been chosen for display but is denied the enactment of its fundamental nature.
When you travel very fast you begin to feel stationary. It’s as if the surrounding landscape is only a moving projection. Siobhán Hapaska
Siobhán offers us a juxtaposition of natural and artificial, free and constrained, wild and tamed. But the work’s title leads us beyond these simple oppositions, underscoring the artist’s ongoing interest in travel, rootlessness, and yearning. Why, ever restless, do we long for escape? In a state of ecstasy—of being outside of yourself—you accomplish a form of escape in which no physical travel is required.
Lisa Martin, Exhibition Assistant for Siobhán Hapaska, September 2013