History


This work dates back to a visit I made to Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire in 1997.

Though I had visited the Cathedral before, this time I was particularly impressed by the collection of ‘table tombs’ that are scattered within the Cathedral. The collection ranges between the grandiose to the macabre: each symbolising their own fate in terms of what may await the incumbent in the afterlife. Cathedrals throughout the UK are full of the equivalent examples Winchester has in abundance.


However, what impressed me most and what, as a twentieth century man living in a predominantly atheistic/agnostic society, I found to be the most difficult of question to answer, was how we lack such certainty of life and death that the characters lying upon the tombs had - that by their position, wealth and absolute belief in a life after death everlasting life was assured to them. This belief governed everything within and without the Church and society.

I am not a believer in any particular church or faith, and here is not the time or place to explain why. But I do believe that one subject preoccupies all of us to a greater or lesser degree. We die. It is self-evident. We all come to this conclusion! But I think it is fair to say that within the western european landscape as a whole (whilst I fully acknowledge there are exceptions) death and the fear of death are seen as ‘the end’ - and to be shunned and denied at all costs.

I see life/death as one and the same thing. We are in one ‘state’ at a certain time, and we are in another at another time. Our physical nature and our memories are one and the same thing.

This cyclical nature has been at the core of this work, and the use of wax has come to represent, metaphorically, that cycle. With little interference wax will move from one physical ‘state’ to another and then, often back again. It is still wax (and will always remain wax) but merely in another form.

But at the heart of this work is an attempt to momentarily take a step away from the usual occupations of life - to give some thought to one’s ‘place’’- to ‘take stock’ if only for a fleeting moment.

This work is not pessimistic or morbid - it was not conceived or executed with those feelings in mind. Death and relationships (of any kind) change - absolutely nothing stands still even if we would wish it to be otherwise.

From the very generous communications that people had sent to me during the time of the installation, many people did take that moment to consider what the work had to say and what it implied, if only for a brief poignant moment. That made six years work worthwhile.

Winter 2003