Dürer flash pillows (2004—2013)


Dürer’s images generously decorated my room as a child in Germany. The ‘Praying Hands’, ‘The Rabbit’, ‘Melancholia’ etc. He embodied the protestant genius and had been the official artist of the Nazis. In 1493 the young Albrecht Dürer drew six pillows, probably the same one in six different states, as if distorted and tortured by nightmares. The style is characteristic of Dürer, between expressionist charicature and corporeal hyper-realism and yet their layout is reminiscent of Carl Andre’s Bricks in the Tate. The image of these pillows came back to me whilst I was making objects that were scatalogical, intestinal or phallic in form; chromed hygienic tools for narcississtic control freaks.

After I read Bernhard’s ‘Old Masters’ where the main protagonist, Reger, accuses Dürer as being “ the proto fascist, he who put nature on the canvas and assassinated it”,  I decided to re-created the pillows from the drawing. In translating these “assassinated” objects into three dimension, I retraced the depth and suppleness of the pleats and studied the nature of their volumes and folds with my fingertips, whilst contemplating the possibility of a  misunderstanding and its potential of opening up new spaces.

Once I had made the objects I made several versions, one out of latex as a skin, another sewn version where the stitches looked like scars. I animated the objects by morphing them into each other and projected them onto a bed. I also discovered that the plaster and rubber molds, were as evocative of my concerns as the final objects themselves, like a question that already incorporates its answer.