‘What is the meaning of those ridiculous monsters, of that deformed beauty, that beautiful deformity ….’ St Bernard of Clairvaux
A juxtaposition of my work and images of hybrid grotesque ornament (grotteschi) from one of my favourite books, Ornament and the Grotesque by Alessandra Zamperini. My work is strongly influenced by these monsters in the margins of Western canonical art. When I came to live in the UK I was drawn to these forms.
As Zamperini says they juxtapose a dream like quality with irony, and my work explores this disruptive juxtaposition of the beautiful and the disturbing. The hybrid metamorphic form brings together the abstract flowing forms of arabesques, with disruptive representational elements. Strongly disapproved of, heterodox, marginal and subversive. Combining poetically outlandish and improbable elements, they evoke the body and all its abject pain, affects and sensations, but also for me they show how the body is in an intense engagement with world, drawing it in and incorporating it.
Coming from a fractured and complicated cultural heritage, they powerfully appealed to my subjective sense of my body as hybrid, fragmented and boundary crossing. Fleshy, carnal, yet ethereal, they appear to be ornaments of no consequence, yet they embed a disruptive and questioning force that made them endlessly fascinating to artists across the ages.