The Process of Binding; preservation, Lazarus of Bethany, Aesthetics

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A bound branch, beginning to crystallise

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A lightly bound cocoon from my foundation year

Since beginning my explorations into Wool as a sculptural tool in Second year, I have been fascinated by the use of String and wool, and the aesthetics, and deeper symbolism  of the process of ‘binding’ an object. Through the act of bondage, one ‘contains’ an object; either the object itself, or the latent energy within the form. the process can also be utilised to obscure the form, and holds a deep religious symbolism within both western religions, as well as more ritualistic and ‘darker’ religions, such as Satanism, Voodoo and Paganism. There is something that draws me to this process; whether it is to do with the rich symbolism that the binding of an object can hold, or whether it is merely the aesthetic of a bound object that brings me aesthetic pleasure. The obscuring and ‘cleansing’ of the form is also of great interest to me, and how when an object is tightly bound, it’s shape changes in a very strange way. Within the image above, once can see that the bound object is a branch; but it also resembles the foot of a mammal such as a dog or cat. Due to this, the limbs of the twisted and broken tree now become the limbs of another being, and this is due to the binding around the object. The binding can also resemble cocoons, and is something that I explored in earlier work in my Foundation year; which I created through the use of wrapping and felting objects, in order to preserve them in a strange state of ‘utero’; almost as a talisman to exude my own fears over growing up, and the ever-recurrent fear of death.

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(image taken from; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lazarus_Athens.JPG)

Another inspiration within the act of binding that I had discovered during my research time earlier on within this project but never described here, is the story of  ‘Lazarus of Bethany’ within the Bible. Lazarus is a follower of Jesus that dies before Jesus arrives at his place of rest, and upon arriving 4 days after his death, miraculously restores him to life. This story is the area in which the famous single verse; ‘Jesus Wept’ originates, and it is the showcasing of Jesus’ ultimate power over the last enemy of Humanity; Death. The image of Lazarus, once re-animated and still dressed in his burial bandages, is an interesting image of inspiration within my practice, and the aesthetic of the ‘bandaged and reanimated being’ is reminiscent of the corpses of ancient Egyptian Kings and Queens, who through the use of mummification, were preserved and given new life within the afterlife (thus living, dying and being reborn, much like Lazarus was, and my work is hoping to illustrate within the dead matter being revitalized). Interestingly, the term Lazarus is utilised to describe apparent restoration of life within ‘dead’ organisms. ‘For example, the scientific term “Lazarus taxon” denotes organisms that reappear in the fossil record after a period of apparent extinction. There are also numerous literary uses of the term.’ – (taken from this wikipedia article) 

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