Lucien Freud - My Father by Jane McAdam Freud
This giant relief is also in the round. The ambiguity is intended as a response to the clear but complex subject matter. The subject is the late painter Lucian Freud, my father. This portmanteau of equal forms joins with a cobra like rim bringing the obverse and reverse together. A hollow inverse inhabits the interior leaving space for the imagination: the projections packed in by so many artists, admirers and his fascinated entourage.
The obverse and reverse of the piece are relatively self-explanatory and continue my theme of Dead or Alive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C72HZlYiRZw
The cobra like holding element –the front or end view – operates as a metaphor for protection on some level. It could be likened to Mucalinda , the King of Serpents who shielded the Sakyamuni Buddha from the elements while he meditated under the Bodhi tree.
Snakes are employed both as positive and negative symbols. In Western biblical tradition Eve was brought into consciousness by the snake’s temptation or we might say guidance. Their symbolic purpose includes that of guardian of sacred spaces and is also a symbol of the passions – both creative and sexual. In many cultures it was the King Cobra that gave man his divine spark! Symbolically snakes equal transformation, fire, magic and wisdom. The Nagas peoples from Northern India chose the cobra with its dignified aura and physical charisma as its totem.
King Cobra could be an optional description for the title of the work but as the work is as much about process as it is about content, I have titled it EarthStone Triptych. This describes both the material used - terracotta clay (earth) and the stoneware temperature (1200 degrees) for firing which makes its durability comparable to the durability of a stone rather than a flowerpot. This portmanteau type construction of forms also operates as a triptych in that its three sides constitute three views in space.
The piece will be unveiled at the Freud Museum in the exhibition called Lucian Freud, my father. 25th Jan – 4th March (pv 26th Jan).
In his study Sigmund Freud was surrounded by his treasured antiquities. He said that collecting these objects of ancient sculpture was one of his addictions.
Freud also liked to bring a new acquisition to the dining table as a "guest of honour" during the meal, returning the antiquity to its position afterwards. The placing of his objects was highly important to Freud and each object had specific meaning in relation to the objects around it. Freud told symbolic stories with these juxtapositions. My exhibition is significantly set in Sigmund Freud’s dining room and the portrayal of Sigmund’s grandson takes the place of the guest of honour - the sculpture taking the place of the dining table itself.
For the future of this piece, I plan for it to take on a developed form in various venues. Often my pieces take some time to evolve in terms of installation and display. This method inspires alternative ways of making these ‘stones speak’.
See also: RCA Society Calendar - http://www.rcasociety.net/content/lucian-freud-my-father-personal-portra...