Chapter II: Ichor
Greek Mythology – the ethereal fluid, not blood, supposed to flow in the veins of the gods.
Pathology – a watery, acrid discharge from certain wounds and sores.
Ichor exhibition is the second chapter of ilāj Curatorial Projects inspired by a chain narrative of interpretations that started from the Greek mythology of Daedalus and Icarus.
-The Metamorphoses book by Ovid written in 8 AD.
-The Landscape with the Fall of Icarus painting by Pieter Bruegel the elder in 1560s
-The "Musée des Beaux Arts" poem by W.H.Auden in 1939
- “Ichor” poem by Gavin Bantock in 1968.
The different interpretations produced over time shape the terrain of this research and the dialogue between the curator and the artists in this project.
Part of Curator's Note
The tragic story of Daedalus and Icarus has been interpreted in many ways in different cultures through different times: the ascension of human to the spiritual realm, uniting with the divine and being flared by the sun of truth, the consequence of ambition, and even the fall of man. Our intension is not to carry on with the same narrative. Icarus pushed himself to the boundaries trying to achieve the impossible as a modern activist. There has always been a barrier separating mortal beings and powerful gods. Despite such discrimination between Superior gods and inferior beings, we still hear voices from this class that rise against the gods. Regardless of such hierarchy, the battle between the society and the power structure is happening in a different way today.
The artist challenges us to question the official narrative.
Photo , wax , thermal lamp 150 x 133 Cm
(Wax: 14 x 12 cm)
This installation refers to the zone where Icarus fell into the sea in the painting of Pieter Bruegel the elder, to look for the answers. In Bruegel’s painting, the sun is seen disappearing over the horizon far from the scenery of the fall. However, according to the official narrative of Ovid, the sun should have been at the zenith in order to have the capacity to melt the wax that secured Icarus’s wings. Nevertheless, Bruegel suggests that the sun is setting in the horizon, as well as revealing a dagger in the foreground and a decapitated head in the darkness of the woods. In Bruegel’s painting an alternative theme emerges that challenges us to question the official narrative of Ovid and the unresolved truth behind the story. This installation was presented in two parts: A piece of wax melting under the heat lamp; a reference to Ovid’s narrative of the sun melting the wax that held the wings of Icarus. The second part is a photo installation with a scratch on the spot of the fall to investigate the cause of Icarus’s death, indicating the anomalies of Bruegel’s painting compared to the official narrative. Was Icarus responsible for his own death? Could he have been murdered and then thrown into the sea? What is the connection between Icarus’s death and his imprisonment? If we consider Daedalus as the one who narrates Icarus’s fall, what could have been his motive to blame Icarus for his own death? Was Icarus meddling in something that drove him to his death- while other spectators in the painting refuse to get involved in the incident that happened before their eyes.
"I hate the bird's eye, it shines, but never moves"
100 x 70 Cm
Oil paint on canvas
Part of Curator's Note
There is a tie between the hero who decides to fly high, and the spectators who fly in the middle. The society who witness the fall of the hero are participants to the same fall- if not turning their faces away. If they stand still witnessing the incident, even though they survive the fall, they still break. The punishment of the spectators who avoided a fall, is to watch the hero’s fall. This collective trauma potentially recollects a sealed history. It is a history that belongs to the whole humankind, and yet powerful gods appropriate it throughout history.
"I curse this bloodless world. I curse the silence and am silent."
Crystalized Bones, Charcoal ash,
Transferred Image on Paper 24 frames
21 x 27 cm