Bouquet deals with notions of abuse and innocence, and their relation to one another. Any victim of abuse is in a sense ‘canonised’ in that brutal moment – their innocence amplified by the violent actions taken against them.
The use of flowers in Bouquet III, both indigenous and alien, is significant in this sense, being in general synonymous with suffering, sympathy, and even romance (which is sadly ironic in that many cases of abuse are domestic). Flowers in the context of Bouquet III are emblematic; of screaming, vomiting, a silent but aggressive personal dialogue. In effect an iconography of the internal and private trauma of abuse.
The use of traditional chiaroscuro creates a sense of heightened drama, of horror - reminiscent of Caravaggio (esp. ‘Medusa’, 1598). Whilst Bouquet III is essentially a self-portrait, Bouquet II (a video work) presents my mother.
Bouquet II does not make use of flowers as a symbolic device, but text rather. Within an ornate gold frame my mother appears five times out of blackness, starting from the left. With each appearance a name is spoken, appearing as white text in a black box over the subject’s mouth. These names: Edith, Anne, Mary, Cecilia and Agnes are the kind of names associated with aunts and family friends (reminiscent of my childhood and background), and yet they are also the names of saints. As these names are spoken, the tail end of the word is unnaturally sustained so that eventually five separate tones are simultaneously playing in discord. As the imagery and text fades to black an individual letter from each name remains, spelling out in scrambled form the word ‘saint’. At this point, the tones resolve harmonically into a ‘sublime space’.
Bouquet I / 2007 pigment ink on cotton Baryta 26 x 130 cm edition: 5
Bouquet III / 2007 pigment ink on cotton Baryta 3 [26 x 130 cm] edition: 5
Bouquet II / 2007 video stills
Bouquet II / 2007 video & sound piece, 42 sec