Natalie Christensen – Pale Semblance
Dimensions: 28 x 42″ framed / 26 x 40″ unframed
Medium: archival pigment print on Italian cotton rag, satin UV laminate,
white shadow box frame
LAST NIGHT I DREAMT I KNEW HOW TO SWIM SERIES:
UAE DELEGATION PROJECT
The first pool I remember was the one I fell into as a small child. It was at an apartment complex that my young parents lived in. I recall falling in, opening my eyes, and seeing the color of the water and the reflection of sunlight shimmering in my field of vision. My mother pulled me out. I was around four years old. Eventually I became a good enough swimmer and spent the summers of my childhood and adolescence in any pool I could find.
My parents were divorced by the time I was eight years old and I spent every other weekend with my dad. Back then he lived in apartment complexes; some of which had pools. My father would let my brother and I play for hours. And during the winter he would take us to hotels that had indoor pools. These stays helped us avoid the sense of loss.
My father’s business endeavors were prone to sudden changes. When times were good, he lived in luxurious homes; the best ones had pools. But when the tides would turn, the moves came abruptly. There were 11 homes in 10 years. And sometimes the pools went dry.
I came to learn that the presence of a pool was a distraction from how impermanent things actually were. Underneath, there loomed an impending sense that everything could be lost. Stable could quickly become unstable, and suddenly we were in over our heads. Yet the pool was always seductive. There was a comfort in the stillness of its waters, albeit a calm that couldn’t be trusted.
Now, I look at pools as windows into my past, and insights into my present. Beyond their surfaces, the depths of my discoveries are seemingly infinite.