In 2012 I made a piece called ‘Carrousel Pic St Loup’ – a large panel covered with black felt revealing a series of rotating painted photographs suspended in a void, the only reference to a geographical context, being The Pic St Loup mountain. The photographs themselves were interpreted from a family album.
This two-dimensional work led to “Our Codex”, a large rotating mobile, weighing approx. 70kg, which I first showed in June 2018. “Our Codex”, comprises of 24 hand-painted fired porcelain paintings (all based on family photographs, both close and extended) fixed to iron rods (8mm in diameter) up to 6m long that pierce two central tree trunks suspended on a rotating hook hanging from the ceiling.
The weight of the porcelains forces the extremities of the rods to arch downwards resembling an umbrella or a tree laden with strange leaves. The initial idea for the structure was inspired by the bewitching and beautiful song ‘Strange fruit’, first sung by Billie Holiday in 1939 – however, “Our Codex”, is by no means a protest song but more an attempt to visualise several generations simultaneously in a format other than a book. Whilst pages can’t be turned here, the visual inventory can and it keeps on coming round and round to refresh, update or confuse our eclectic archive of memories until they eventually fade and fall to the ground as inert cobalt shards.
Like most of my installation work, this piece was accompanied by a beautiful soundscape composed and produced by Patricia Combeaud (aka Carmen B) and James S. Taylor (Lugano Fell, Swayzak). A complex, layered and spatial work whose eerie piano melodies echo the repeated rotations of the mobile whilst a myriad of voices resembling a fragmented choir, repeat morsels of words from all directions.
Our Codex was first exhibited in the Cabanon at La Friche Mimi in Montpellier.
Many thanks to Patricia Combeaud (aka Carmen B), James S. Taylor for the soundscape, Grant Mclean for his indefatigable assistance and Luc Miglietta for his torches.