Three Forms of Sudden Death (2001)
3 channel projected installation
Super-8 film transferred to DVD
Three Forms of Sudden Death
'Throughout antiquity and the Middle ages, it was widely believed that bezoars could originate from the solidified tears of deer or of horses. The Arab physician Avenzoar, who lived in Spain in the eleventh century, maintained that certain deer, when bitten by venomous serpents, swam into rivers and remained submerged until they felt the effect of the venom to subside. At this point they shed a large tear that solidified upon the deer leaving the water. Scribonius Largus, Roman physician of the first century AD., and author of one of the first works on pharmacology, De compositione medicatamentorum, also subscribed to the belief that bezoars originated from the inner canthus of the eyes of deer, from the solidification of tears...'
Three Forms of Sudden Death and other reflections on the grandeur and misery
of the human body (1986) F. Gonzalez-Crussi.
I was at that point when there's nothing left to say, that hiatus when the effort to make sense, to narrativize, is forced to take a pause and founders. The archivist takes down box after box with great care and patience. Inside, photograph upon photograph reveal gravestones and memorials, follies and temples. Sculptors pose in their studios in front of petrified flowers and lions, a young girl stands in imaginary winds, head thrown back forever in the enjoyment of a sudden summer downpour. A team of men and heavy machinery and ropes and pulleys haul an enormous block of stone through a series of old black and white photographs. Something about it makes me think again about the blocks of unhewn stone that lie about in the background of those long-ago studios, waiting to be chiselled and rendered into something meaningful. The sheer scale of this monumental block reminds me of the enormous boulders and rocks that look large on the mountains around West Yorkshire...how they have been given names - the Great Rock, the Bridestones - inserted into various narratives, used as landmarks by which to negotiate the terrain but which ultimately hold their essence to themselves, absolute in their indifference. And when I go to see them up close I'm struck by how random and meaningless and final they are. I shoot one and then another and another on Super-8 film, so that the film might register the movement and fragility of time in relation to such stillness. These massive forms all but fill the frame and block out the surrounding landscape so that when the work comes to be installed they dominate the space while a small text nearby makes a link between pain and senselessness which can only be set down through narrative form, set as if in stone, like a story of solidified sorrow.