Barbara Bloom. Shattered Parts
Barbara Bloom is drawn to fragile materials like glass and porcelain. Their breakability implies absence.1 They are temporal and melancholic, reminding us of our own mortality. After the artist fell out of a third-story window in 1995 and broke many bones in her body, including her vertebrae, she became interested in the Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics with gold lacquer. Known as kintsugi, this technique highlights an object’s history and flaws rather than concealing its scars.2 Anchored in this practice, Bloom developed a deeply personal series called “Broken” (2001) of purposefully broken and repaired ceramics and photographic works, including X-ray images of the repaired pots, paper gift boxes printed with X-ray images of the artist’s reconstructed vertebrae, and a found photograph of an acrobat balancing a stack of teapots—the precarious image framed under a sheet of shattered glass.