Impotent the flow of years...
This is a little view of some of the elements of the sculptural group “Impotent the flow of years...” brought together, in fact tied together. The title is from Ezra Pound’s translation of an ode of Horace (III.30) in which the Roman poet boasts that his work forms a monument “higher than the pyramids” that “will outlast metal”, his own death, and the onslaught of time in general. What is time? The French wikipedia entry on this subject tells us that it is “the concept that accounts for change"—isn't that quite neat?
“Impotent the flow of years...” (detail) | 2021-22 | porcelain, tinted plaster, bedsheets, pillow case, paper, polypropylene rope, ratchet strap | dimensions variable, tallest 100 cm |
photography by Isabella Wild
In Archaic Greece, the outcome of a battle was decided when one side admitted defeat by requesting permission to retrieve its dead. Once granted, the victor erected at the tropē—the point at which the enemy was routed—a tropaion or ‘trophy.’ This anthropomorphic assemblage of despoiled armour served as a sign of victory but was left to decay along with the enmity it embodied...As well as a manner in decoration, this style was a social performance, an ideal of self and society, and a model of the mind to which the trophy forms it cultivated were perfectly suited. Despite its long and eventful history, the trophy has not been studied synchronically as an important phenomenon in eighteenth-century ornament, or diachronically as a deeply rooted and dynamic presence in European visual culture. This thesis attempts to account for the trophy on both terms.
Access and Read Alexander's 2021 Doctoral Thesis HERE
Spoils (fragments of a parade)
Imagine if every symbol,
Were borne aloft by a person:
At the low end of every
High sign-post a soft someone
Marching rawly responsible...!
Unimaginative, I keep such crowds at bay
That could turn fight or festive
The abstract privacy
Of flattened sight.
Lion-paws brace me on my chair,
Close a lair for the sleep of pride:
I amass and forget, I hoard outside,
Forgetting the arrows are sharp
That red-recommend me right
Or left to you, that arrows were weapons
Once and each portrait smile
A jump-the-fence shout against
Forgetting or a thing not selling...
Is everything “misplaced a part”, despoiled? Images of the Roman Triumph, the victory parade in which trophies and and the spoils of war were paraded, made me wonder what we might learn from seeing so concretely the links between images/objects and their invisible ‘bearers.’ Try it, really!—every image you see today, an ad on a bus-stop for example... picture every person involved, everyone who had a hand in bringing it into being— see them holding it up like a statue paraded on a saint’s feast day. You will laugh (and maybe feel sick) because you are probably there too holding it up or in the crowd adoring.
It haunts us, the misappropriated flesh,
Be it Pelop’s shoulder after Demeter’s feast Or Adam’s rib supporting Eve’s new breasts, Or the nameless root of Gilgamesh.
— Marie Ponsot, “Non-Vegetarian"