The Death of a Sculptor

'Art is nothing but mortality, and in vain.' Paul Celan Skylarkingly along a moonlit path as if we didn't care; as if Gilbert and Sullivan costumes were cool; as if the giant beetles were not there beneath our feet - an inch-thick carpet with a pile that crunched revoltingly; as if Kurt could be fooled who mocked our squeamishness. 'They feel no pain,' he cried, 'remove a beetle's abdomen, it eats on unaware.' He drew his sword. Our last few days together at that school, a week in which he'd slay a score of demons in his head slicing beetles by the thousand clean in two. Years before we'd hear of him again. On T.V., interviewed by Melvyn Bragg.'The world is broken, friend,' we heard, 'a photo booth that judders when we smile. The flash explodes, the shutter sticks, light melts the reference points, the visual clues of body language, poise, tensions in the forms, their auras and their vibes - the subtleties that point behind the pose. The gestures now are those of fear, the faces frozen, unaware of what lives on within. So when I threw Bisected Beings from the hayloft door (or crushed another with the tractor or the four-by-four) I had in mind: a fist, a fractured rib; electrodes on a lifeless chest, a sudden surge, the tissues seared; a heart kicked into life by stress. But that which lives dynamically, dies at last and traumas lose their grip...' From that seed-thought his Sculpture Clinic grew. Came Lotte Pinkhorn, mystic, phantast, seer, with Pterosaur With Lateral Splits (mysteriously healed!) for Stress Replacement Therapy. For hours Kurt worked with hammer, thermal lance and saw until once more the final touch: the hayloft door. Free fall. The flying pterosaur plunged through the narrow space of his imagination to spread itself in pieces on the floor. Wings flapped and buckled wildly, fragments soared like scraps of paper from a bonfire as the ground turned black with beetle, crow and pterosaur. He saw an angel with its palate cleft and cloven hoofs for feet as whores in clouds like locusts flew with crooked mouths and broken staves to lacerate the backs of men who staggered to their graves. His mind was broken by the sight, his body by the fall.

Last updated 11.9.2006