“ FOR THROWN MONEY ”
“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” is a song I’ve enjoyed for years (by Cher). A few lines in that song read…”I was born in the wagon of a travelin’ show, my moma used to dance for the money they’d throw. Papa would do whatever he could….preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of doctor goods”. “Every night all the men would come around…and lay their money down”. The pain in those words always ‘gets me’. People beyond shame, desperate, doing whatever it took to survive.
Just as an actor loses his self in a great performance, when I tap into a work, “I become the characters in works of art – experiencing their emotions, hungers, their vulnerabilities. It hurt to sculpt this piece. I experienced the lustful eyes, shameless flaunting, worthless empty power that ugly wantonness and primal hunger foster. Can you drop to your knees in desperation? Taste the angst of having to hungrily clutch coins out of fear. Feel in your fingers the silver you’ve won – while desperately reaching out for more. Tune your eyes and ears to the slightest clink or shimmering movement. Your neck is expose…again, vulnerable. My willingness to thoroughly exhaust a weakness or strength in a character…is one of the secrets to what I do.
However, within this sculpture, no matter how much pain you may see and feel, I ask you to look close and notice a woman whose nobility glimmers despite abject want.
After viewing this piece, a dear friend of mine wrote me….
“Sir, I am sorry for Marie Antoinette, archduchess and queen; but I am also sorry for that poor Huguenot woman, who, in 1685, under Louis the Great, sir, while with a nursing infant, was bound, naked to the waist, to a stake, and the child kept at a distance; her breast swelled with milk and her heart with anguish; the little one, hungry and pale, beheld that breast and cried and agonized; the executioner said to the woman, a mother and a nurse, ‘Abjure!’ giving her her choice between the death of her infant and the death of her conscience. What say you to that torture of Tantalus as applied to a mother? Bear this well in mind sir: the French Revolution had its reasons for existence; its wrath will be absolved by the future; its result is the world made better. From its most terrible blows there comes forth a caress for the human race.”
Victor Hugo – Les Miserables