Brigita Ozolins: Kryptos, 2011
by Bella Hone-Saunders
Kryptos by Brigita Ozolins was commissioned by David Walsh for MONA in 2011.
Ozolins is an Australian installation artist, who has been working in Hobart since 1983.
The viewer walks in and through a cubiform chamber maze, lit from beneath the floor.
The walls are host to translated binary text inspired by cuneiform, a language first written around 2,700 BC.
Ozolins explores the link between language, history and knowledge.
She understands language as a tool that both shapes and restricts the way people think.
Minimalist sounds play to focus the viewer and detract from the gallery’s external disturbances.
They provide time for the viewer to immerse himself or herself and decide if they are taking part in the past, future or present.
Specific skill is required to translate and interpret both cuneiform and binary text.
Upon reaching the centre chamber of the work, the viewer is encouraged to look up.
To see themselves.
Reflected by a mirror.
Ozolins does not believe that language is a mirror to reality.
Mirrors may warp or distort what we see.
Not always do they provide a comfortable image.
Upon seeing oneself, the artist forces us into a heightened sense of awareness.
Of our own history, language, understandings and of ourselves.
Ozolin’s success lies in her ability to enable accessible awareness, for those viewing the work with little or no contextual knowledge, to interpret the form and text.
All that we have to look up to is ourselves.
Ozolins incites the curious mind. She engages with the world’s mysteries to accentuate the limitations of human knowledge and reflect upon all that remains unknown.