Pneuma [2005]


mixed media [25cm x 8cm x 2.5cm: lead, glass, bee’s wax, paper & breath]

The binary relationship between opposites has always captivated me and thus plays a large role in most of my work to some extent. Possibly it is the nature of choice, or correspondence, or maybe even contradiction that holds my fascination.

Pneuma, Greek for breath, but also spirit, represents a moment where I am caught trying to keep a journal, and yet somehow can’t. Not for lack of enthusiasm. I have attempted many times over the years to keep some sort of written account. Yet just as vigorously, there apparently exists an equally opposing force that precludes my recording of daily existence. This odd dichotomy surprises me given that I am such a strong advocate for process and the recording of progress through the physical act of making.

To reconcile my dilemma, this piece represents my attempt to record a passage of time with the one thing that is perhaps the most personal and likewise equally ephemeral—one’s breath. Excised through careful surgery, the text was obtained from an old, battered and well-thumbed dictionary which was then placed within a glass vial, along with the spoken word accompanying the fragment of paper. A curious cabinet of opposites, the twelve wax-sealed tubes were ensconced within a lead box to belie the the weight of something as light as the spirit it was literally meant to contain.