title: to what can I compare this world ?
Only some objects have managed to survive a descriptive history as direct and unbiased signs: the painting as object. It exists beyond its many interpretations and on a quest to decipher the content matter, it is a tableau in its own right, which has as its primary function: to act as ' a window '. As such it is overseeing a landscape as fragment of another time. Often in the accountability of historic facts, the painting does not deliver information but presents the idea of myth, metaphor and symbolism. In this photographic work the representation of meat is still understood to be part of the food menu as the butcher has displayed the animal corps in delicious cuts for everyday consumption.
These same signs were evident in paintings from the 16th and 17th century by Carracci, Aertsen, Beuckelaer and later
van Rjin. Their still life paintings of meat , the kitchen’s interior and meat market vendors depicted animal meat in terms
of two social critical landmarks: the biblical connotation “the weakness of the flesh” (Matthew 16,41) and the aspect
of the expansion of farming industry and the feudal growth of bourgeois riches.
The photograph’s content not only physically merges two dimensions, the painting as a flat stage set and the freshly cut T-bone steak placed in the foreground referring to the assumption of lust and meat - voluptas carnis - . Often the position of the dead animal i.e. the butchered meat in one piece is scaled to the size of the human figure thus implying the animalistic nature of mankind in a private household.
The painting in its own right still has the representational relevance of an illusion. It is not the person Henrietta Howard which Charles Jervas painted but an idealized portrait being eternalized as resemblance of a momentary impression. In place of that illusionary image is now what appears to be a piece of meat. Henrietta Howard’s portrait is hidden behind the mass of animal meat, she possibly withdrew or withstood the man’s desperate longing to make her become the object of lustful desire. Her portrait, seated in the Arcadia Thames landscape brings the subject back into a larger picture, so wide as if the horizon line in the painting disappears into the glow of a setting sun: a displaced desire of nature...
Glausnitzer-Smith London / Berlin / Jerxheim