Photos by Alexander Mackworth-Praed
Performers: Olga Mylnikova, Artour Zakirov and Sarah Duffy
10 minute site-specific performance
Staged in the Grounds of Chateau Bosmelet in Normandy, Live performance Descent centred around a statue of the Ancient Greek Goddess of Harvest and Agriculture, Demeter, and re-enacted the abduction of her daughter Persephone through a series of Tableaux Vivants. Persephone was dragged to the underworld by Hades, eventually allowed to return to her mother for half of each year after Zeus struck a deal with Hades. This deal is forever reflected in the changing seasons. Presiding over the cycle of life and death, Demeter’s sorrow at her daughter’s loss and joy at her return were reflected in the cycle of care and abandonment with which she tended the earth, the winter months standing testament to the neglect of a grieving mother.
Statues, in their stillness and solemnity achieve what the human body never can: freedom from the indignity of aging, sickness and the excretion of bodily fluids. Their silence conjures up notions of captivity, but also a state of potential in which they might spring to life at any moment and join us in the world of the living. Conversely, they suggest the potential for human bodies to turn to stone; a reminder of our own demise into the world of the inanimate.