CIRCLE OF MEMORY
by Eleanor Coppola in cooperation with Richard Beggs, Robilee Frederick, Elizabeth Macdonald, Jean McMann, Alexander V. Nichols
2 - 31 August 2008
Hangar-7, Salzburg Airport, Austria (presents monthly new exhibitions by international artists www.hangar-7.com)
Costume designer, documentary filmmaker, and artist Eleanor Coppola exhibits her artwork "Circle of Memory", an installation inpired by thousands of years old prehistoric Irish tombs and developed in cooperation with five other artists, the sound designer Richard Beggs, the artist Robilee Frederick, the architect Elizabeth Macdonald, the writer and photographer Jean McMann and the lighting designer Alexander V. Nichols, at the Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria.
"The Sum of Memories”, says Coppola, “that are called up in this space define
the space anew every day. I myself am surprised how different a visit to the Circle of Memory feels on every
Inside the installation, a circle made of straw with an entrance passage, you will find a symbol for resurrection: salt is streaming continuously from the ceiling down to earth. The circle is surrounded by photographs of ritual stones from Ireland; a sound tapestry of children’s voices can be heard, reciting the
alphabet and numbers in 14 languages; a special light architecture creates an atmosphere for memorizing and reflecting. The installation is interactive: you have the opportunity to write a name or a message on a piece of paper and stick it into the bales of straw. Or you can read in the remembrance book about the thoughts of others.
Eleanor Coppola's inspiration for the installation comes from a tour through Ireland together with author Jean McMann, who was researching the 5,000-year-old tumuli (prehistoric graves). One evening they have made with friends a ceremony. They spoke the names of dead people who were close to their hearts. Eleanor Coppola remembered her lost son, Gian-Carlo
Coppola, who died in an accident in 1987 at the age of 22.
Eleanor Coppola (born 1936), documentary filmmaker, artist, and costume designer, shot the documentary footage for the Emmy award winning film "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse" while her husband Francis Ford Coppola worked at the same time on "Apokalypse Now". At her filmography http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0178880/ you will find documentaries like "The Making of Marie Antoinette" about a movie of her daughter, .... Eleanor Coppola has designed costumes and stage décor for the ODC Dance Company San Francisco. Her drawings, photos and conceptual art pieces have been exhibited in many galleries and museums. Last year, in 2007 her documentary about Francis Coppola, "Coda: Thirty Years Later" was released. In May 2008 she published her book "Notes on a Life".
In prehistoric cultures, mostly devoted to the religion of "Magna Mater", the cycle of life was in the center of the practised cults. Around 1.600 BC the religion of Mother Goddess lost its power. "Magna Mater" was divided in different goddesses: Demeter (fruitfulness), Hera (matrimony/birth), Athena (art/wisdom), Aphrodite (love). Archaeologists have found a sculpture which represents probably life (Demeter with the child) and death (Persephone is the goddess of Hades and rebirth) in Malta. More about what archaeologists (for example Marija Gimbuta 1921-1994) think, the meaning of the opening of a prehistoric temple and the role of the male god and how he is represented www.fashionoffice.org/culture/malta7-2004.htm. Some say that you can find the prehistoric Mother Goddess still in religion today: in Catholic and Orthodox Churches "Holy Mary" is also named "Mother of God".
fig.: The "Memory Chamber" inside the installation "Circle of Memory" by Eleanor Coppola at Hangar-7, Salzburg Airport, 2008. photo: Helge Kirchberger / Red Bull Photofiles