Sunday, March 14, 2010

Figment : Icarus

The brief for the Figment exhibition at e.g.etal was to explore a myth or fable.
The myth that I chose was that of Icarus.
After discussing this with my friend Polly, she lent me her childhood copy of Greek myths, Gods & Voyagers, Legends of Ancient Greece, by James Reeves, 1969.
I like Reeves take on the myth, where Icarus seems to be following the actions of his father Daedalus an exceptional inventor, and the action of flying finds him responding as an individual, and consequently leads to his death.

My take on the myth is that yes, because of his actions Icarus falls to his death, but what an amazing experience it must have been to fly. The act alone would be one of wonder, exhilaration, fear and beauty. I wanted to capture this in three works.

On a recommendation from Polly's mother Ellie, I looked at the painting by Pieter Bruegel depicting the Icarus myth. I love that in the daily meanderings of life in Bruegel's painting, this extraordinary act of Icarus's flight and subsequent death goes unnoticed. It is almost incidental, and is only registered by the splash made by his fall and his legs are splayed like a frog as he disappears into the water.

Landscape with the fall of Icarus c.1558
Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels

From my research I decided to make three pendants to explore the myth of Icarus.
I conceived the three forms as being very formal: all made from the same material (sterling silver), all the same scale and shape. Formal also because the history of mythology has a formal lineage. But what was explored within these frames was to be more emotive and expressive.

The titles of the three works made for the exhibition are:
invention (Daedalus)

the sun/the sea

the fall
invention is about Daedalus, the father of Icarus. He was an Athenian and was a craftsman, artist and inventor. He was said to have invented carpentry. Icarus was thought to have been the inventor of sails.
This work is predominantly cream/white and silver in colour.

the sun/the sea is about the seduction of flying and the seduction of the sun as well as the sea.
The colours for this work are rich reds and blues.

the fall is about death and is predominantly black with blue tones.