Thursday, 18 November 2021

Botticelli and Cat Shit

I am having a rather dramatic wave of self doubt if that helps you believe I am human .. it’s part of the process as I move towards sharing the series of works from the very private and intimate creations from the series 'No Place Like Home' by slapping them on the wall for people to judge. The viewer inevitably brings a criteria and motivation to the work often in conflict with my own increasingly lost message, my voice drowned out even in my own space. Hence the statement if you can be arsed to read it.

Our shear unadulterated arrogance mostly masked by social convention occasionally shows itself. I often define what are called mental health issues especially those with depression as a consequence of being connected to the brutal reality, the realisation of a vast, cold, heartless universe, so vast in time and space that nothing matters. What a friend of mine calls my 'Godless gaze'. Fly too close to the sun again and again and it becomes all we know and what was a balanced existence is a fading memory.

So desperate to find our way back from the agony of self-knowledge to the stable ground of denial that has long since departed, a craving nostalgia for a life less complicated and damaged, fuelling an increasing sense of isolation and existential loneliness no longer able to be hidden by an increasingly flimsy persona. The standards set by our ego become the enemy to self love. We can live too long perhaps as to pass through multiple identities of which mine has always been unstable from the start, giving me empathy for anyone less comfortable with this constant and unnerving dislocation. I'm drawn to it like a fly to cat shit, my sub-conscious antennae seeking a parity with the like-minded but the existential loss I carry, I am ashamed too say, always defined 'others' as more complete than myself regardless of their own suffering.

Silence is very important but it can be dangerous to, we can make assumptions of the unspoken and very often a different truth can only come out if the right question is asked. My impertinence that Sierra and I had that unspoken understanding during the capture of these images of their decapitated body both as the reclining muse and here in the twisting female stereotype inherited from the representations of the male gaze of art history. A conventional beauty interrupted by the scars as memories of a recent past too unbearable. A home, if you can call it that, has become an allegory for depression, filth accompanies despair; if you don't intend to live, why hoover. Nothing matters.

The unadulterated documentation is empathy, if I am invited to join my subject in the abyss I feel it is my responsibility  to return with the evidence (if I make it back). It would be a great failure to sanitise such an extraordinary gift in the misguided presumption of dignity that only belongs in the mind of the privileged. I recall, deeply hallucinating from food poisoning in a small village in Kerala; I cling onto the edge of what I perceive to be an abyss, terrified to let go not knowing what awaited me. How disappointing and what an opportunity missed.

I am celebrating survival as beauty. I am celebrating Sierra's beauty because I feel less able to celebrate my own.

Botticelli and Cat Shit #28729 © Richard Ansett 2020

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