KENNY SCHACHTER ROVE Britannia Street
BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
THE STONE IN ART
Curated by DANNY MOYNIHAN
19 June - 26 August 2006
Richard Long, Damien Hirst, André Derain, Olafur Eliasson, Lee Maelzer, Tamsin Morse Eugéne Delacroix, Gustav Courbet, Bryan Wynter, Edward William Cooke, R.A., F.R.S., Keith Tyson, Thomas Daniell R.A. and William Daniell R.A., Tristram Hillier, Bill Brandt, David Hockney, John Piper, James Ward, R.A., Nick Waplington, Paul Thek, Friedrich Nerly
Since our time on earth began, we have had a strong affiliation with rocks and stones. We have dwelt within them, carved upon them, marked tombs with them, dragged them up mountains, worshipped with them, and ascribed power to them. Many people today look for stones of special beauty, aborigines believe their 'sacred stones' contain spirits of the dead, Hindus pass special stones from father to son believed to have magical powers, the holiest sanctuary of Islam is the Ka'aba, the black stone in Mecca, Christ is the 'spiritual rock' (1Cor. X:4), alchemists seek the 'philosopher's stone', something that can never be lost or dissolved. The eternal quality of stones and rocks means they have come to symbolise the core of the self - complete, unchanging, lasting. It is as if stones contain a living mystery for us. A stone symbolises the deepest and simplest human experience, something so appealing because it is unchanging and unalterable. It is this seemingly static nature of rocks, which form part of a timeless structure that pins the world together – and yet all the while the wind and the weather and the passage of time rub strange and beautiful imprints on each and every necessarily unique rocky surface.
In 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place', Danny Moynihan collates eastern and western representations of stones in art from the Renaissance to the modern day in homage to this sepulchral sombre ancient magical matter of rock and stone. These art works operate in the same way perhaps that ancient Chinese scholar stones conjure a valuable metaphor for the viewer. These scholar stones would be chosen because they represented a landscape, they would be brought from the exterior realm of nature into the interior realm as analogies of that exterior. Thus they were tools for the imagination to meditate, a path for the mind to connect inner with outer, micro with macro, the self with the world.
These works are a testament to the uncanny pull of rocks, the stillness, the divinity, the allure. These rocks and stones represent our landscape, the exterior matter against which we define ourselves and each art work opens up a dialogue between man and his world, artist and landscape, object and representation of object.
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