The human body consists of up to 60% water. Water traverses the landscape of the human anatomy just as it is in a continuous circulatory cycle on earth. The form of water is in a state of permanent transformation and flux: One droplet of water in London can condense, become cloud and fall as rain in Paris. From there it might travel via the Seine into tributaries, down through Europe into the Mediterranean Sea and out to the vast Atlantic Ocean. Water traverses the earth with no heed for borders. It reminds us of the borderless ethos of the Hippocratic oath where knowledge of healing is to be shared and spread across the earth.
Using the simple allegorical concept of water with it’s life-affirming metaphorical allusions to health, cleansing, birth and healing, the concept for ‘Borderless’ resonates with the healing ethos that is poetic, uplifting, timeless and trans-cultural.
The piece takes the form of a Intaglio/counter-relief carving – where the image is carved into the flat surface of the stone on the façade of the building.
Photographic and filmic studies of the surface of water were our point of departure – the play of light and shade in constant transformation. From there, we created an image that brought two disparate bodies of water together to create an imaginary ‘waterscape’ bisected by a vertical ‘seam’. Through discussions with stone carvers Ivan Cudby and Anna Rubincam we developed a ‘language’ and methodology appropriate for the work, specific forms of mark-making and the tools needed to achieve them – this involved bespoke tools being created specifically for the task. We elected to draw the waterscape by hand onto the surface of the stone and the carvers worked directly from these lines. The carving language therefore sits between the human touch of the drawn line translated into hand carved stone and the elemental language of the natural erosion of stone by water. It references the mobile surface of water, glacial striations and the ethereal quality of light on water and is created from horizontal carved traces and rivulets that stretch across the stone canvas, disappearing into its natural surface.
The final piece presents as a kind of mirage, shimmering in the surface of the building. The ethereal quality of both the human touch of the carving and of the water imagery yield a transporting and protean image, which speaks at a universal level, engaging the viewer’s imagination in an inclusive, un-bordered way.
Installation in progress and the piece will be unveiled in January 2022