Thursday, 16 April 2009
This wall painting was made in 2008 at LLS 387 in Antwerp as part of sunset is an all day process.
It is a working through of thoughts about a roman sarcophagus. They were often carved with this s-like, sibilant gesture so that the light ripples and hisses like interference, same as when you walk past a chain-link fence, an optical effect that produces affect: the sense of a hole in the world like a star trek transporter: - a space which infers a different order or dimensionality, appearing as a patch or macula in vision. The pattern is called strigilation, which comes from the shape of the strigil- a curved tool which was used to clean the body [I imagine like a window cleaner's gesture describing the hyperbolic surface of the body. ] These sarcophagi were above ground, in the light, and at Ostia certainly were set at the periphery of the town: the threshold. You would enter the town through a street of tombs. The pattern could function as an a apotrope [a device for turning away like the evil eye, or garlic for vampires]. Mazes and riddles are apotropaic devives often found at gateways to deter intruders, and in this case perhaps to guard in both directions the gates to the underworld. What fascinated me about the tombs was that the pattern often serves as a parentheses for a central figure, another form of doorway, the figure often being Endymion, who fell in love with the moon goddess and slept forever. The parentheses is like a shift of view, a story within a story, figure within abstraction, rhetorical gesture cut into the world. Like multiple stories of origin bracketed within one another, the tomb presents end-games in parataxis: teleologies.
This painting was made to figure painting as a skenographia, in this case an optic backdrop.