Another Part of the World

Stand number: C5

Paul March

One day, in a museum, I came across a 6 million year old fossilised horse’s skull. When I remembered it again weeks later I was not sure exactly what I was remembering – not really the skull itself, more like standing in front of the vitrine and being drawn in. At the end of a big project two years later, I was too tired to start the next one. In my workshop I found nothing but bags full of clay and the emptiness of inactivity. My hands searched despairingly in one of the bags for some meaning. After a while I found myself making the fossilised skull of a unicorn. You might think it is obvious what a unicorn skull looks like – a horse’s skull with a horn emerging from the forehead. And drawing a recognisable unicorn skull is easy. But there is a difference between the signification of something and the thing itself. I wanted to make the thing itself. The only way to do this is to play until the thing emerges from the clay itself. Signs and language beguile us into thinking that we know what the world looks like. But I think we need the world to be always there – to show us what it looks like. And so it is with unicorn skulls. I intended the sculpture to be a thing-in-itself rather than a maquette. But now I also see in it an emerging landscape – the stone-encrusted jaw becomes a rock outcrop from which emerges a petrified trunk. A new sculpture takes form – reconfiguring the world around it as it finds a life and presence of its own.