Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Written Critique

Claire Lowe
Chris Barbey’s piece Ozymandias consists of two slabs of pork on top of a rock and is dealing with the concept of transience. All of this is sting on a pedestal covered in black fabric. The poem Ozymandias by Percy Shelley is written across the two slabs of meat where the first part of the poem is on one piece of meat and the rest of the poem is on the other slab of meat. The slabs (which are each about the size of a hand) are situated in the center of the stone. The stone is about the size of two heads and, though more precariously situated on the pedestal, is still very stable and solid. The pedestal appears to be a stool wrapped up in black fabric.
All three parts to this piece deal with the concept of transience. The meat, not being properly preserved will eventually rot away. The stone (which was more than likely not found in the hallway as Bucksbaum) has been moved from its original place. Stone is usually thought to be a permanent object that cannot be moved. However, in this piece it has been moved and though this does not mean that it is not permanent. While the stone may have been moved and may be moved in the future, it will last longer than the slabs of meat. It proves to be an object which is both permanent and not permanent. The covered stool will not always be a pedestal. Given a much longer period of time, the fabric, like the meat, will eventually start to break down.
There is an interesting selection of materials here. By essentially tattooing the poem onto the meat, it ensures that the poem does not last forever. The meat will eventually go bad and rot which means that the poem will slowly start to fade away. This alludes to the idea of decay and a lack of permanence. The poem written on the meat is a large part of the piece. It depicts a ruined statue of a once great king and shows how in the passing of time, there are things that fade away. The piece Ozymandias appears to be a visual representation of this poem. It is interesting then that the poem is written on two slabs of pork. Perhaps the fact that it is mean it meant to allude to how humans fade in the passing of time and is meant to represent humans. What then is the significance of the pork? Would the piece have worked just as will if a different kind of meat had been used?

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