Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Three III

The Three

This body of sculpture is dedicated to the memory of Nick Waterlow, the late director
of Ivan Dougherty Gallery in Sydney, who included my work in the group show
"Confrontations" in 1993. Almost fittingly, some of our last correspondence was about
my previous body of sculpture, "Communicating with the Cosmos... Mysterious Threads"
2008-9, and in particular about "Flight", a piece based, in part, on the Holy Trinity and
depicting God the Father, so may his 'flight' to the heavens be a joyous one. I find it 
peculiar how the recently departed tend to make the quick whip-around, on there way out,
a final farewell, so I got my long awaited studio visit, all be it very brief.
The current work is predominately about the spiritual association between love and death,
this also seeming strangely relevant. When museum directors or curators, whose 
opinions you respect, respond to your work, it is almost like love, more of the divine 
variety than any other but definitely the kind of connection with your work you are looking 
for. So, this one is for Nick, thank-you for all your kind words of praise and support.

... the unicorn in the Bundahish (Ch. XIX):

Regarding the three-legged ass, they say that it stands amid the wide-formed ocean, and 
its feet are three, eyes six, mouths nine, ears two, and horn one, body white, food spiritual, and it is righteous. And two of its six eyes are in the position of eyes, two on the top of the head, and two in the position of the hump; with the sharpness of six eyes it 
overcomes and destroys. Of the mouths three are in the head, three in the hump, 
and three in the inner part of the flanks; and each mouth is about the size of a cottage, 
and it is itself as large as Mount Alvand.  Each one of the three feet, when it is placed on
the ground, is as much as a flock of a thousand sheep comes under when they repose together; and each pastern is so great in its circuit that a thousand men with a thousand horses may pass inside. As for the two ears, it is Mazendaran which they will 
encompass. The one horn is as it were of gold and hollow, and a thousand branch 
horns have grown upon it, some befitting a camel, some befitting a horse, some 
befitting an ox, some befitting an ass, both great and small. With that horn it will 
vanquish and dissipate all the vile corruption due to efforts of noxious creatures.
When that ass shall hold its neck in the ocean its ears will terrify, and all the water of the
wide-formed ocean will shake with agitation, and the side of Ganavad will tremble. When
it utters a cry all the female water-creatures of Auharmazd, will become pregnant; and all
pregnant noxious water-creatures, when they hear that cry, will cast their young. When it stales in the ocean all the sea-water will become purified, which is in the seven regions 
of the earth-it is even on that account when all asses which come into water stale in the 
water-as it says thus: "If, O three-legged ass! You were not created for the water, all the 
water in the sea would have perished from the contamination which the poison of the 
evil spirit has brought into its water, through the death of the creatures of Auharmazd."
Tistar seizes the water more completely from the ocean with assistance of the three-
legged ass. Of ambergris also (ambar-ik) it is declared, that it is the dung of the three-
legged ass;  for if it has much spirit food, then also moisture of liquid nourishment goes through the veins pertaining to the body into the urine, and the dung is cast away.

The monster is evidently based on the number three.

Three is regarded universally as a fundamental number, expressive of an intellectual 
and spiritual order in God, the cosmos or mankind, and either synthesizes the three-
in-one of all living beings or else results from the conjunction of one and two produced 
in this case, 'from the marriage of Heaven and Earth'...

Three also denotes the levels of human life, material, rational and spiritual or divine, as
well as the three stages of mystical development, purgative, illuminative and unitive...

The basic rationale of this universal phenomenon of threes must no doubt be sought in
a metaphysic of composite and contingent being and in a global view of manifold 
oneness of all that exists in nature and which is summarized as the three stages of 
being-appearance, development and destruction (or transformation); or birth, growth 
and death; or again in astrological tradition increase, culmination and decrease.
Penguin Dictionary of Symbols

I have been obsessed with numbers a lot with my work, often every piece of material 
used is measured to a specific length. So, the only prerequisite for this series was that I 
used three, three metre lengths of steel rod, one to depict a head, another a body of 
some form or conjoining element and thirdly the standing feet or base.
You feel that most people are as spiritually disconnected in love as they are in death,
being too distracted, unwilling or unable to connect.

For Trinitarians, emphasis in Genesis 1:26 is on plurality in the Deity, and in 1:27 on the
unity of divine Essence. A possible interpretation of Genesis 1:26 is that God's 
relationship in the Trinity are mirrored in man by the ideal relationship between husband 
and wife, two persons becoming one flesh, as described in Eve's creation...

In the Trinitarian view, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost share the one 
essence, substance or being. The central and crucial affirmation of Christian faith is 
that there is one saviour, God and one salvation, manifest in Jesus Christ, to which 
there is access only because of the Holy Spirit...

"By nature he is neither immortal nor mortal. Sometimes on a single day he shoots into
life when he's successful, and then dies, and then (taking after his father) comes back to 
life again. The resources he obtains keep on draining away, so that Love is neither wholly
without resources nor rich. He is also between wisdom and ignorance. The position is 
this. None of the gods loves wisdom or has the desire to become wise-because they are; 
nor does anyone else who is already wise love wisdom or have the desire to become 
wise. The problem with the ignorant person is precisely that, despite not being good or
intelligent, he regards himself as satisfactory. If someone doesn't think he's in need of
something, he can't desire what he doesn't think he needs."
Diotima's dialogue with Socrates- The Symposium by Plato

The sculptures are also painted with the seven colours of the rainbow underneath the
black wax.

In Ancient Greece, the rainbow was Iris, swift footed messenger of the gods. It was also,
in more generalized fashion, a symbol of the relationship between Heaven and Earth 
and gods and mortals-a divine form of speech.
Penguin Dictionary of Symbols

The black wax, the only colour not in the rainbow, describes all the dribbly  goo of being
human, the blood, the mucus, the shit, the vomit, the urine, the cum, the snot and so 
forth. The fake fur is the hair. Whenever you use this particular shade of blue you 
always feel like you are appropriating Yves Klein and visions of the Virgin Mary, 
sometimes thought as the female and forth element of the Trinity.
The spiritual association between love and death, becoming one with another person
in 'ideal love' as with the Holy Trinity, becoming one with God or in death becoming 
one with pure spirit have for me always felt the same.