Ecce Homo

2013
28cm x 18cm x 21cm
Silver plated copper

Following on from the Autokopf series of head forms, I have been looking further at masks and helmets; how they may project and obscure identity, protect and restrict the wearer.

The Crosby-Garret helmet is a roman cavalry parade helmet recently unearthed in Cumbria by two metal detectorists. I was struck by the drama of such an exotic find emerging from the ground after almost two thousand years and how this metal face had been regarded in it's day. Now closely identified with the site of it's finding, it belongs to a system of military and social control from very far away in both time and distance. A highly valued object, it has been sold at auction and now resides in the United States.

Ecce Homo was the first in what has become an ongoing series of portrait heads. The subject is a fork lift truck driver working on the industrial estate where my studio is based; a real, living person and a native of the region. His is a powerful and characterful head, perhaps personifying the sturdy industrial heritage of the north, yet bearing more than a passing resemblance to a classical roman bust. The portrait was modelled in clay and ultimately cast into a wafer thin copper shell, echoing the fragile bronze of the Crosby-Garrett helmet. It is barely there, a fragile skin of silver-plated copper.

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