The Creation of Adam & Eve

Height 78"

Edition: 9


Adam & AveThis sculpture is one of a very few which I originally produced purely for myself, and its symbolism has personal significance.

Variations on the image of Adam's creation have been represented countless times over the centuries, important to artists as a symbol of the creative act. The biblical story of Creation represents, for me, a God who has an idea, a concept, but until the point where he makes a man in the physical world, that man is not a reality. Once man is actually created, he takes on an existence outside his creator. Only then can God communicate with him, because it is only then that he has a life (if disobedient) of his own. The story is a paradigm for every act of creation, whether of a child or a work of art. The act of creation liberates the created from the creator. Conception is not yet life and conceptual art is therefore, in my view, a contradiction in terms.

In this sculpture Adam and Eve are not yet fully formed; the claywork is unfinished and Adamís spine has not been totally covered with flesh. The only complete image above the plinth is that of the apple, placed in the garden before the couple were made, a symbol of freedom and the responsibility that goes with it.

The plinth bears on its front face a semi-abstract image which I originally produced as a painting. It is both a representation of the generations of Adam, and a kind of Dance of Death. Two lovers dance across a grid of squares and oblongs which represent the grave, while three embryos spread out from the position of the womb like ripples, the final one breaking the ultimate grave image, the block itself. The design is then broken into its constituent parts on the three remaining faces of the plinth in order to give an insight into its structure.

Dance of DeathAs I worked on this piece, several literary allusions came to mind and influenced its development. I was conscious of Milton's portrayal of Adam's loyalty and love after Eve's act of disobedience; of Hopkins The Wreck of the Deutchland, particularly the lines:

      Thou hast bound bones & veins in me, fastened me flesh,
      And after it almost unmade, what with dread,
     Thy doing

     and Beckett's lines from Waiting for Godot about making love and giving birth "over a shallow grave."
triptych
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