FALLEN – OBJECT FOR THROWING FROM WATERLOO/ BLACKFRIARS BRIDGE
2012, Found object and action. Dimensions variable. Skin of Livingston’s Turaco bird (1872), rope, found section of collapsed gate
During my time in London I became very familiar with two bridges, Waterloo-and Blackfriars bridge.
In crossing those bridges I often thought about the Victorian trope of the ‘fallen woman’ and its relationship to art and morality: Both Waterloo and Blackfriars bridge were used by Victorian artists and writers (including the Pre-Raphaelite painters Dante Gabriel Rosetti and George Fredric Watts, amongst others) as the setting where so-called ‘fallen’ women would commit suicide by jumping into the River Thames. Having lost their sexual innocence by indulging in extra-marital affairs, such ‘unchaste’ women followed a doomed, though well established trajectory from angel to whore, becoming prostitutes and/or pregnant and finally committing suicide (thus, well and truly having falled from the grace of God).Weighed down by their shame, guilt and despair they finally, though quite appropriately, disappeared into the murky depths of the river. Such women were in effect viewed by Victorian society as being emblematic of the corruption of human mores experienced by the urban city dweller and their depraved, coproreal lifestyle. Nonetheless, where it concerns the expression of their sexuality; the double standard applied to women and men during the Victorian era still pervades popular culture and society today.
I wanted to create something like a ‘little’ monument for the few women that actually jumped from those bridges and how, in that moment of flying; theirs is a resolute act of self-assertion, autonomy and defiance.
The work may be sold but in order to become an artwork it must be cast into the river from one of the bridges.
1) Pick a day,
2) take the work to either Blackfriars or Waterloo bridge, take care to walk exactly to the middle of
3) place the work parallel to the safety railing with the bird facing towards the river, and away from
your body approximately 1 metre,
4) throw the brick-section into the water
(ensure that the rope does not become tangled)