“Sink in, sink down to the farthest roots”
– Ursula K Le Guin
Physical – nonphysical
Lydia Gifford impregnates her artworks with a lot more than paint, dye, glue, or gesso. They are indeed physical objects, but ones that also carry traces of a deeper search. The whole process is meaningful, from the choice of the cloths or fabrics to the different elements that integrate the works, and that have often been dug out by the artist herself. The nonphysical matters that are hidden among the creases are as relevant: the time spent creating the work, making and remaking it, the time it will take to be seen, touched or even being thought of, or the history of its pigments.
Stillness – movement
The still works on the wall or hanging from the ceiling exude a sense of calm, inviting the viewer to come closer and concentrate on their forms, colors, or textures. Before the stillness they were twisted, moved, squeezed until they found their final shapes. The movement is an intrinsic part of these pieces and also of Gifford’s artistic practice. When creating, her body moves on the floor with an intensity similar to that of a dancer improvising a choreography. And the repeated actions in themselves become a form of art, a meditation in movement that allows to create. As Pina Bausch beautifully put it: “Repetition is not repetition. The same action makes you feel something completely different at the end”.
Sink – Float
In her search for the ingredients that will integrate her works, Gifford’s hands often sink into the ground. Her fingers dig, excavate, search for dirt or powder. In this process, it is not only what she finds that is significant but also the history that is contained in the layers of matter she touches. In the same way that memories arise in our minds, so do these elements emerge carrying all their past. These artworks are connected to the earth, but they also have a vaporous quality. You can sometimes see through the layers and with their imperfect shapes they seem to be moving, at times even floating.
Painting – sculpture
The richness of these artworks is also in the fact that they cannot be so easily defined. They are in a way both painting and sculpture, since touching and transforming the material is as important as the elements applied on it. Really, it is as much about the process as it is about the result. And in fact, both are inextricably intertwined. The three-dimensional pieces are meant to be a trigger for our senses, allowing us to absorb the atmosphere they create and continue our own search for meaning.
Text written after an exchange between Lydia Gifford and Florence Rodenstein.
 K Le Guin, Ursula. From the poem “Come to Dust”.
 Kisselgoff, Anna. “Pina Bausch Dance: Key is Emotion”. The New York Times. October 4th, 1985. https://www.nytimes.com/1985/10/04/arts/pina-bausch-dance-key-is-emotion.html