One of the inspirations for this work was a translation of a Hindu epic, the Ramayana. When Sita, an avatara of Lakshmi, is kidnapped, the earth responds in a number of ways. The last four words in this description are, “and the waterfalls wept.” The tale of the Ramayana, which can be traced back 7,000 years, makes the 2,500 year-old Tao Te Ching young in comparison. The Tao Te Ching states, “Nothing is more soft and yielding than water. Yet for attacking the solid and strong; it has no equal.”
Fabric, one of Molly Gochman’s primary mediums, is used to transform surfaces into gurgling landscapes. Fabric is flexible and strong. Its strength relies mostly on a repetition of contrasts, warp and weft. Creating fabric is one of human’s earliest technological achievements, and the use of this material continues today. Using fabric as a means of protecting and identifying ourselves provides us with a tactile connection with the past, present, and future.
Gochman attached bolts of fabric to five A-frame wooden ladders, which stretch in various directions within a space. Pillows and batting soften the ladders’ angles while remaining hidden under the ripples of blues that crunch, fold, flex, and fall from the forms.
The use of fabric allows Gochman’s work to have a softening effect that fosters distilled moments and connections between people. These connections are often imperceptible. Despair, akin to what the Earth experienced at the loss of Sita, emphasizes the characteristics of fabric, a soft, beautiful material, and common suffering and despair weaves individuals together.
While encouraging connections between people, Waterfalls Wept emphasizes various aspects of their environments including the effects of time. Waterfalls Wept was first displayed at Lincoln Center at a show emphasizing unveiling, which is an effort at revealing truths through scraping away layers that come between understanding one another. The passage of time frequently allows unveiling, and time is the catalyst for understanding. At Lincoln Center, this work was specifically placed in the context of gender and sexuality in South Asian cultures, and the movement of the piece accentuates universal, primitive knowledge. This change of time and context encourages new connections. With the transfer from Lincoln Center to a window display in the garment district, Waterfalls Wept redirected a silent communication and excited feelings about universal themes.
These installations are purposely awkward in their spaces. They fit, but they seem somewhat out of place. The awkwardness fades with time as we adjust to their presence. Time opens the perception of the work to more possibilities, esthetizing the audience. In the end, modest but powerful forces of nature and time prevail-as water slowly wears patterns into solid rock, and we all surrender to time.