Sriwhana Spong is interested in the relationship between the body and language.
This special display of sculptures, made for the interior of St. Bernard’s Well, sits alongside Spong’s newly commissioned film, castle-crystal, on view in the Institut français d’Ecosse, West Parliament Square.
Skirting the bottom of the circular pump-room, Spong has installed a series of serpentine forms embossed with pineapple markings, bringing together two contradictory associations in the one image: the snake, conjuring fear and suspicion, and the pineapple, a symbol for welcome. Both appear in the architecture of St. Bernard’s Well. Topped by a pineapple – in the eighteenth century a signifier of wealth and prestige – the neo-classical temple also hosts a statue of Hygeia, the goddess of health, whose snake winding around a staff was also the symbol associated with Asclepius, the god of medicine.
The window ledges support a series of sculptural forms in which moist clay, as it dries, develops its own independent form and language, pulling away from the structure which has sought to shape it. Similarly, a series of sculptures made from layers of fruit skins encased one within another, simultaneously enact an embrace and a refusal.
Sriwhana Spong (b. 1979, New Zealand) lives and works in London. castle-crystal is part of the 2019 Edinburgh Art Festival Commission Programme, Stories for an Uncertain World, which brings together new work by 5 artists at locations across the city, to offer perspectives on the uncertain times we find ourselves in, poised between the disintegration of an old world order, and imagining possible futures.
Commissioned with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Supported by the PLACE Programme,
a partnership between Edinburgh Festivals, Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland. With additional support from Creative New Zealand, Institut français d’Ecosse and Museums & Galleries Edinburgh.
25 July – 25 August
St Bernard’s Well
Edinburgh, EH3 6TS
0131 226 6558