Resurrection Stories

Commissioned by the Djanogly Gallery Nottingham 2005

This major exhibition at the Djanogly Gallery consisted of a three-screen video in the main gallery space, and an installation of 5 still image projections in the second smaller gallery.

Installation shot 01 Installation shot 02

catalogue essay by Robert Clark
Review in Guardian Guide

‘Resurrection Stories’

Video 9 minutes
intallation shot installation shot

This work is presented as a moving triptych of images with story lines linking up on occasion across all screens or following complimentary threads. Each of the three screens has it’s own soundtrack and at the Djanogly they measured 10 foot in width, so the work encompassed the viewer.

‘Resurrection Stories’ is concerned with ideas of metamorphosis and resurrection; raw electricity and lightning, the moon, murder and journeys through silver birch forests. Contained within the work are references to stories that embody a symbolic metamorphosis. . It makes reference to an old folk tale ‘The Woman with Hair of Gold’.
In this tale, a violent murder of a woman who lives alone in the forest is followed by a rebirth of sorts through the medium of the inter-connective world of the reed bed. The woman’s hair continues to grow in her burial ground and emerges as a field of swaying golden reeds through the black soil. Shepherds cut the reeds to make flutes and the tiny flutes ever after sing out the song telling the truth of the murder. It is an invaluable tale, telling us something about the nature of secrets and of truth; the ability we have to return to strength even when seemingly silenced or buried.

Transformation through descent into the depths is a ubiquitous myth; from the story of Inanna, through to Osiris, Persephone, Attis, Mithra and Jesus, it embodies a symbolic metamorphosis and talks of the cycle of descent and return, or resurrection.
Akin to other resurrection stories, this is an allegorical journey of the soul and an expression of the continuity of life. This is contrasted in the work with images associated with the scientific ‘fact’. There are references to the study of haematology and associated tools; glass slides, circular globes full of liquid for magnification and distortion. Lightning and blood are assigned the same properties of magic and renewal. Still images are layered with moving footage; X-Ray, magnetic and histological medical imaging images are used to contrast veins and arteries on the heart to the appearance of tree branches and reed roots in soil.

more stills from video

‘Resurrection Stories’

Installation of projected still images in gallery 2
installation shot installation shot

This series of 5 back-projected still images created by a combination of projected slides (assemblages of photographic images and natural objects sandwiched between glass) with actual still life objects intervening between the projector and screen. The resulting image is a mix of real object, sharply defined silhouette and projected image. When someone walks past, the free hanging objects (such as the small glass vessels containing liquid) which are silhouetted against the drafting film screen shift slightly. The effect of this is to make people look behind the screen in order to determine how the image is created. It emphasises the transient nature of these constructed images.

These slide images show details from devotional paintings: such as a network of pink coral, symbolic of the blood of Christ but which has the feel of a network of arteries full of blood, the reddened eye and tear of a sorrowful Jesus, and Christ’s torso with side wound. The wound, like the other details and portrayed in so many paintings, is a focus of devotion, the gateway to His loving heart. In contrast to these are the magnetic resonance and X-ray images of rib cages and of main arteries and veins around the heart. The latter have a shadowy ambiguous appearance. The knarled and contorted branches all interconnecting in plant-like form, and the rib cage appears like a vaulted ceiling and wall which houses and protects all this along with the precious heart.
Bob Clark writes ..’a dusting of clematis seeds appears to wriggle like incubus sperm shadows. Through the overlaying of translucent biological ghosts everything takes on an x-ray air of spatial reversals and intimate revelations.’ Catalogue essay

View images on Flickr

Guardian Review
The Woman with the Hair of Gold