Walking backward through the word paradox we arrive at the greek ‘para’ meaning, contrary to and
‘doxa’ meaning, opinion, which has links to ‘dokein’ which means, to appear, seem, think.
The central image of this photograph teems with paradox contextualised within a landscape, or perhaps better, atmosphere of uncertainty. The setting could be the beginning or ending of any day - dawn or dusk- without knowing where I captured this image you can’t be sure. This uncertainty is intended to be productive, borrowing (if I may) from Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in which he proposes that the closer we examine the momentum of nature’s smallest particles (quantum particles) the less we can know of their location (and vice versa) thereby shedding light on a fuzziness essential to the nature of nature.
Here stone is tender, the intimacy between a young girl and her birds is not academically symbolic, it is soul stirring, elevating; anthropocentrism is alien to children. Here creatures of the land and sky merge (formally and conceptually), feeding one another love, trust, tenderness. In that intimate moment, now fixed in stone, nothing else existed in their fuzzy shared world except their exquisite exchange, witnessed by a memory in the shape of a fragmented bird.This is the grave stele of girl who died young, perhaps 8 or 9 years old; it was made between 450-440 BCE of local stone (Parian marble, known for its fine whiteness and it’s light reflective qualities). At 80 cm tall we might imagine it a mirror of Dovegirl (as I call her) at her death. It was ‘found’ on the Greek island of Paros in 1775 and was promptly shipped to the Isle of Wight (UK) where it became a possession of Sir Richard Worsley of Appuldurcombe House. In the early 1800’s its ownership was transferred to the Earls of Yarborough at Brockelsby Park Lincolnshire (UK) where for the next 100 years or so successive Earls of Yarborough called her theirs. In 1927 under advice of the antiquities agent John Marshall, the Met (NY) acquired her with the aide of the archival image in the lower right margin.
All of this ownership and transference has at it essence the act of taking - taking away, taking advantage, taking possession, the list goes on...running counter to the exquisite exchange represented. I’m including an extra image in this post, it’s of a plaster copy of Dovegirl’s stele, it stands in the sunlit courtyard of the small overlooked Archaeological Museum of Paros, if you find yourself on Paros pay her a visit, take a moment to look into the sky and enjoy the abundant birdsong.