Brazen Serpent

Darling, Jesse
Jesse Darling’s sculptures, drawings and objects consider the vulnerability of the human body, while expressing a desire to resist the constraints imposed on our lives by social and political forces. Their work Brazen Serpent, 2018 is a warped mobility crane, coiled to resemble a snake. It was created as part of the exhibition The Ballad of Saint Jerome, shown at Tate Britain in 2018. The works in the exhibition explored the story of Saint Jerome and the lion. According to legend, Jerome, a fourth-century Christian scholar best known for having translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, was confronted by a ferocious lion. Instead of reacting in fear, he recognised that the animal was injured and removed a thorn from its paw. Once tamed, the lion became his lifelong companion. For Darling, the fable is about power as well as healing, and raises questions about control, captivity and the subjugation of otherness. In the exhibition at Tate Britain, Darling populated the gallery space with works made from everyday objects and materials. These took on the appearance of both wounded and liberated shapes. While contorted canes have been a recurring motif in Darling’s practice, in this exhibition they became ‘serpents’, taking on a new symbolic dimension and questioning how we perceive objects as well as bodies.
  • Artwork Details: 93 x 120 x 34cm
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  • Material description: Steel, aluminium mobility cane, rubber ferrule, lacquer
  • Credit line: © the artist
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  • Accession number: ACC33/2018



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