The design is based on an image of Michelangelo’s dying slave, which represents a male figure in the ecstatic throes of dying. The male figure in Michelangelo’s sculpture is atypical in its deviation from the conventionally masculine form. There is also an erotic exploration of the relationship between pain and beauty, inherent in the sculpture. I have cropped the image to show the head only, alluding to conventional portraiture and images of beauty in magazines and billboard adverts.
Furthermore, I have “digitised” the image by translating it into lines of “pixels”, shifting the lines to bring an aspect of distortion or transience into play. This result also refers to the media, as well as the digital age. The possible relationship between pixilation and the compounded units of the ancient art of mosaics is a long-standing interest of mine, which I have explored in this mosaic on a large scale. By creating photo-real images from abstract units of stone or glass, aspects of abstraction, perception and proximity are explored.
The image is predominantly constructed of black and white pieces of stone, with thin lines of colour details. This allows the mosaic installation to speak to and sit well with the Cape-Dutch language of the surrounding architecture. The Image has been realised in both positive and negative form, on either side of the columns, as a reference to notions of ideal beauty, in relation to race and difference.