Siobhán Hapaska: The Nose That Lost Its Dog
- Talitha Kotzé
- 24 November 2009
Scottish deer skin stretched over stainless steel, fibre glass and slate powder in resin, and an uprooted olive tree suspended in mid air by various steel components are some of the materials that have been used by Siobhán Hapaska to give life to three monumental sculptures. Created during her Production Residency at Glasgow Sculpture Studios, these new impeccably crafted objects sit quiescently in the GSS gallery space.
‘Downfall’ is a dried out olive tree hovering horizontally above two trays – one contains its leaves, the other some of the soil that used to cling to its roots. Being an evergreen tree with a robust root system, the unusual death of the plant suggests an unnatural force at work, hinting at historical and contemporary Middle Eastern references.
A bit like a creature that has strayed from its creator, the title of the show suggests an instinct that has lost its instigator. But for ‘The Dog That Lost Its Nose’, the concept is switched. Eleven stainless steel globes, ringed with a strip of animal skin, each rotate upon its own axis. Juxtaposing the inorganic with an organic object, we see our own reflection multiplied in different sizes as the steel balls hang from biggest to smallest.
The final sculpture, ‘Tick’, is reminiscent of a huge lifeless animal, a machine engineered for no purpose, a futuristic aesthetic beast revealing itself to be part skeleton, part tendons and part shaven skin, a monstrous blood sucking creature kept alive by a clinical respiratory system. The sculpture has animal nipples dangling from its big fertile belly, yet these are frozen in taxidermic juxtaposition with cold steel. This beautiful immortal being recalls the modern day appeal of the vampire: unnerving us as much as they seduce us with their exquisite elegance.
Hapaska works with invertions: she takes systems that we often trustingly take for granted and dissects them, suspends them in time, so that we may walk around them, permitting their fleshiness to captivate us, but never allowing us to touch.
Glasgow Sculpture Studios, until Sun 30 Jan