SOUL SNATCHER POSSESSION, 2011-2012
Influenced by a violent disturbance that took place on a street one night, Soul Snatcher Possession sets the scene of a ritual gangland killing or punishment beating. No weapon is visible, the perpetrators smile and gestures betray the moment just before some dreadful act is committed where fear fills the imagination. The installation is a metaphor for the violent extraction of soul, the manipulation of mind and the taking of life by the powerful, in order to perpetuate the myth that those with the power want to portray. It relates to the street, the corridors of governance and commerce.
Eight large figures made from old clothes, sacking and pillows are constructed unto metal frames and stand in a dimly lit room. The figures are inter-related; the strong do not exist without the weak. Material is cut, slashed, stitched and manipulated into shape. The central group appear to crowd in on their victim who is hooded. In one corner stands a large blind man holding a stick. In another, a woman is slouched against a wall with her breasts uncovered. Close by, a predatory figure watches over her. It is unclear as to whether a sexual act has been or is about to be carried out, consensually or otherwise. Opposite, a kneeing figure is bound and masked.
During the making of the work, I listened to a radio interview given by the French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann. Referring to the holocaust, he spoke about a ‘dimension of barbarity that does not disappear from human nature.’ The description aptly describes Soul Snatcher Possession. It is chilling to realize that in the end, those who are in charge have the ability to get rid of someone, to sideline or rewrite what an individual has said or done. If reason and diplomacy do not work then violence often will.