That Which Is Living Can Only Die

Bronze, 2016 

'That Which Is Living Can Only Die’ is a series of bronze sculptures that take their name from the poem ‘Burnt Norton’ which is the first poem from T.S Eliot’s ‘The Four Quartets’ and is an exploration of the futile search for immortality.

The elixir of immortality was the focus of Chinese alchemy in the 9th and 10th century and supposedly gave its drinker eternal life. It was often made from liquid metals such as mercury and long lasting precious substances such as jade, cinnabar or hematite. Ironically, ingesting these concoctions was often fatal - there is a long list of Chinese Emperors who have died from consuming it.  I have drawn parallels between this phenomena and the process of investment casting. The investment casting process involves making a plaster cast, burning out the organic object - then filling the space with molten metal. The object itself then exists in a long-lasting form but its essential nature has been destroyed.