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Sisyphus 12,000 AD, Styrafoam, Papier Maché, Stonecast, Latex, Stone, Teeth, Imitation Grass. 48 x 36 x 12cm. 2020..

"Sisyphus collected a bag of rocks. None looks exactly like the boulder, but in each there's some flicker of resemblance. A line here, a color there. He will keep looking."

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He Expected the Clearing to be Empty. Watercolor on Paper. 8 x 12.5 cm. 2020.
 

I’ve thought of Sisyphus a lot this year. A trickster king, punished by the Gods to roll a boulder up a mountain for all eternity, only for the boulder to roll back down again on reaching the top. The myth leaves much unsaid. I have never heard a version of the myth in which any being is present to enforce his punishment. No one whips him or calls insults from afar. He is alone on his mountain, with his boulder, and his own impulse to continue. In death, he has also achieved immortality. His mind continues on, his body – capable of intensely corporeal tasks – continues on. What separates this eternal existence from life, save that he cannot die again? What compels him to spend his forever on a boulder? 

I spent a long time musing on this. Later, I remembered that rocks erode. So do mountains. 

 

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Sisyphus Fragments. Stone, Salt, Resin, Wood, Fragments of a Text. 2020.

For a while now I have been working from the place I imagine Sisyphus in at the end of time. Isolated, bereft and obsessive. He sits in space, holding a tiny object that seems to him the most important thing in the world – a little stone, charged with meaning. The boulder which used to dominate him, to strain his every muscle and overwhelm his whole existence, now a pebble in his hand. His fingers erode it, rub it away as they caress it, and even so he cannot truly grasp it, cannot access what it is that makes him worship it. 

All These Years, Wood, Wax, Stones, Graphite on Filter Paper, Latex. Installation Dimensions Variable. 2021.
 

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“The Book of Sisyphus” Wax, Ink, Found Book, Watercolor, Paper, Slate, Stone. 2021.

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Left: “The Book of Sisyphus” Wax, Ink, Found Book, Watercolor, Paper, Slate, Stone. 2021.

Right: “Sisyphus Apocrypha”, Ink, Rice Paper, Bamboo. Dimensions Variable. 2021.