A Play of Parts | Short Essay on Pum and selected works

Posted by Kim Soep on


Time + Runner a collage by Pum

Pum's surreal collage fuses together imagery from historical books and probes the uneasy relationship between humans and their technology. A dichotomy of old and new, the black and white aesthetic of yesteryear are like prescient visions that raise issues, feelings and concerns of the modern day. In her ongoing series of works, examining our addiction to faster, more convenient living and its impact on society and the planet, Pum's timeless artworks share a limitless awareness, confronting the profound changes and pressures that accompany technological advancement.

Pum is both a collagist and a painter living with autism. She studied Philosophy at Glasgow University and has a Masters (Research) in Creative Practices from Glasgow School of Art. Helping her make sense of the world around her, Pum uses collage as a remedial process and as a way of managing her autism. She says, “Collage, for me, is complex art – an art of making up and adeptly assembling fragments of information into a whole to form a compounded creation, which represents my understanding and interpretation of the world. The process offers me a kind of prosthetic insight – a way into understanding abstract concepts by engaging in a process of shifting, sorting, and creatively placing fragments of visual information."

While the process is a personal one for Pum, her visual conclusions offer the viewer with similar enlightenment. Full of encoded symbols and semiotics, Time + Runner (the collage seen above) is one such work that possesses a deeper understanding of ourselves. Here, Pum makes a spectacle of our obsession with time. Embodied as a cumbersome, whirring piece of machinery, time is portrayed as more of an obstruction than an aid to the runner. The upturned Greek columns in the background prompt ideas of Olympia and the eponymous Olympic Games. But why are they upside down? Is it symbolic for something, or is it more about guiding your eye to the runner's feet- treadless and purchaseless. Suspended in mid-air, running, racing in perpetuum; his efforts seem to be in vain with time always against him. In the same way, we watch athletes push their bodies to the limits, break records that were once unthought-of and still there's always time left to beat. 

In a world full of noise, screens and fast-paced living we are kept from noticing much else. We are sleep walking, daydreaming, unaware of the journey we're on. But when our eyes settle on Pum's bizarre and compelling imagery, we can't help but feel a need to re-assess our own reality. 

You can view her full collection of works here.

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