Posts Tagged 'sculpture'

Casimir Pulaski Day

On my most recent post, I quoted extensively from an engaging interview with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine which appeared in Paste magazine.  You can link to that post here.  He commented that the three main topics which he believes will really affect someone as a human being are: love; God; and death. 

Are those the topics that really seperate “great” art (in whatever media i.e painting, sculpture, photography, literature, film, music, whatever) from “good” art?  For me, I think that notion certainly rings very true.  Faced with any one of those issues in isolation and, in our most quiet and honest moments, I reckon that we stop pretending.

I asked what these things would look or sound like?

For me, I think it might be something very much like the attached you tube clip.  This is a song that speaks more truth to me about these subjects than many others.  The video is something that has not been prepared by some high budget commission by the musician involved, but is simply someone having lovingly story-boarded the sentiment and imagery and story of the song.  The result gets me every time I watch and listen to it.  I know there can be a tendency to skip people’s video links on blogs, but I would encourage you to click the arrow below and watch this.


Naked As We Came

“She says wake up, it’s no use pretending
I’ll keep stealing, breathing her
Birds are leaving over autumn’s ending
One of us will die inside these arms

Eyes wide open
Naked as we came
One will spread our
Ashes round the yard

She says if I leave before you darling
Don’t you waste me in the ground
I lay smiling like our sleeping children
One of us will die inside these arms

Eyes wide open
Naked as we came
One will spread our
Ashes round the yard”

From “Naked As We Came” by Iron & Wine

I hope that you are not too offended by the above picture.  In truth, I don’t think the photo does justice to this piece by Ron Mueck.  I first saw this at the Saatchi Gallery in London back in 2003.  It’s entitled “Dead Dad” and is an incredibly life-like model of the artist’s father.  What the photo fails to capture is the fact that the model is only 102 cm long.  The attention to detail, to every little body hair is captivating.  I genuinely expected this little person to jump up from the display at any moment as if it had only been playing dead.

In Ron Mueck’s explanation of this piece, he wrote of how when he saw his dead Dad’s body he was instantly struck by how his Dad wasn’t there.  The body before his, tear stained, eyes was merely a shell.  His Dad had left and the soul and spirit had departed.

I’m proud of the fact that the company I work for sponsored Ron Mueck’s exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh back in 2006.  The figures on display caught the imagination of thousands of visitors.  The very fact that the scale was wrong (they are either huge or minute) threw people and made them confront aspects of the human condition.  

Art has the power to address the issues we consider taboo or don’t discuss in our everyday conversation.  It has the power to touch, inspire, provoke and shock.  It has the power to disarm.  The conversations I had at a private viewing one evening with clients’ of the firm were more genuine and scratched much deeper below the surface than many of the bland pleasantries that too often fill our, seemingly endless, numbered days. 

I really appreciate “Dead Dad”, although upon reading the plaque I could feel a lump in my throat and a sting in my eyes.  It scares me to think that I may have to face such a confrontation of my own one day.  It also makes me squirm to think that, if timings take their natural course, my daughter may one day have to do the same to me.  Maybe these little posts and musings on this blog will convey something of the thoughts I held, the priorities I had and the passions that drove me…


East Of Eden

“He said “some men born rich, some men born poor
But they’re rich in other ways”
Into my heart his wisdom poured”

from “East Of Eden” by Babyshambles.

Art often speaks into our lives in profound ways.  We are sensual beings and I love those rare moments where I stop and just appreciate creativity and what an object is trying to portray or how I interpret it.

We spent a glorious day at the Eden Project in Cornwall a couple of weeks ago.  I loved the whole concept.  It was established on a former quarry which had been drained of its mineral resources.  Rather than leaving a scar on the landscape, Eden now represents the largest plant enclosure in the world.  It has been pain-stakingly designed and constructed wherein seeds, that were apparently dead, were planted exactly where they should be in order that they would grow together to form something beautiful.  After being buried in the ground, they formed roots, drank deeply, grew stronger and blossomed into new life.  They were sometimes scattered, often pruned, sometimes up-rooted and re-planted, lovingly tended and generously cared for.  The dome-like bio-spheres hosted such an amazing array of species from the plant kingdom.  It was beautiful and made my mind wander back to the imagery of another Eden. 

One of the things that stuck in my mind was a sculpture called “Seed”.  I guess the idea was sown, germinated and lovingly nurtured to find it’s role as a monument of sorts.  The explanation of the piece of art is below.

I want to grow physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I want my life to be a testament in perpetuity to something bigger than me. 


The Message helpfully paraphrases John 12: 24-25 as follows, “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat.   But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.  In the same way, anyone who holds on to life, just as it is, destroys that life.  But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

In a day and age where we see religious extremism on a global scale, I just see something worth living for – a design for life and life in all its fullness – not a cause for violence or suicide bombings. 

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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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