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The Wantonness of Statues

the crystal palace

the crystal palace

There is something a little bit uncomfortable about the pose and look from this statue.  She seems very knowing and not quite appropriate for some one prepubescent.  I walked past her once and found myself going back a couple of times.

I wanted her to stand out in black and white as she was actually verdegris.  Behind her the tress were dark and still green but they did’t have a great degree of tonal difference to the statue and it was important to me that her face, the round shapes on her eyelids as well as the softness of her arms and her puffy cheeks were very clear because they define her as a child.  But i was also intent on capturing the spiders webs on her arms.  It was important to make a statue more like a statue.  By using what is called bokeh, which is really just stuff out of focus in the back that makes satisfying blurry circles, i was attempting to emphasise the fact that she is stuck in this position, someone decided that she should stand like that forever.  I wanted to show something about how strange i thought the pose was, how strange it seemed to me that someone would think it was appropriate. I wanted to point out that the aesthetic was in some way weird and belong to a different time.  I was thinking about how the portrayal of what is in effect a child would be unlikely to survive in the modern world especially when i think about the photographs of sally mann and the responses to them.  I have the same kind of queasy fascination and embarrassment about this statue as i did about mann’s images.  They are both beautiful and compelling, but also too intimate for public display.  I am not sure if my response is to do with my own childlessness, which is a state i didn’t choose and do not like, or some kind of puritanical snootiness that comes from the warped way children are portrayed in the media.  I expect the latter.

Since i took this photo, I have made an acrylic lift that uses copper and bronze paint. She looks even stranger now because she has been cut up into sections.  I want to work more on this image because of it’s sleazy/prettyness, I know that I am trying to negate some of that, but I am not really sure how to do it.

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