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Prayer for a dead cow / 2012-13

/wood, pork and beef bones, 126x10 cm, 111x10 cm, 115x10 cm, 132x10 cm, 142x10 cm/

Rosettes of bones are partly my personal confession. A memento mori associated with my serious bone marrow disease and existential questions connected to it. In a more general meaning, it is a kind of visual prayer for wasted lives.

Objects made of bones are based on a similarity with rosettes, which is an architectural element in the shape of round windows placed in the central walls of sacred buildings going well back to Mesopotamian times. The word „rosette“ has come to us from the French term la rosette meaning a rose. However, even floral ornaments were known ornaments in the ancient Near East and in Islamic and Byzantine areas. Symbolism of the rosettes is therefore very multifaceted and evokes fullness of life. Round windows adorned with a stone tracery used to be an abstract expression of deity. Originally they symbolized the worship of the sun, later Jesus, or a creative power in general. Whereas the altar stands in a choir at the east end of the church nave, the rosettes were placed at the west front wall with an entrance. The beams of the setting sun penetrated the sacred space and the light getting through the stone tracery worked as some sort of an illuminated prayer.

When I noticed to my friends that I was involved in working on some three hundred kilos of bones I heard many remarks about my morbidity, abnormality and so on. I asked them in return whether they ate beef and pork. In the decisive majority they did. This means for me that they participate on the whole chain of the meat production and all things related, which I as a vegetarian do not think is right. This project, however, is not meant to be an activist demonstration for the animal rights. I have chosen a bone as a specific symbol of life and death. A symbol, which for me as a woman with deficit functions of the bone marrow, has a truly existential meaning.

Bone is a primary essence. I understand a bone as a base defining the shape; the bone determines facial physiognomy as well as the build and posture of the body.  The bone marrow is a blood factory, without which life is not possible. No wonder that bones as a material element play their role in the spiritual world.
 As far as human memory goes, the bones have played an irreplaceable role in shaman magic rituals. According to the Christian tradition god created woman from a bone. A bone is the most tangible element of an organic structure and lasts the longest time as well. And as such it bears information about the existence of life, it also contains an element of death.
In connection between vivacious symbolism of the rosettes and the animal bones I express the tension between birth and death as well as a strange unity of the animal and the human.

One rosette is compiled from the bones of minimum seven animals. Dead animals, that is, who were alive, their bones were alive and were creating the life. And this potential is somehow still present in them. At least judging by the law of conversation of mass and energy which in simple terms postulates that energy cannot be produced neither destroyed, but only changed to a different kind of energy.