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Kay Potts performing the ansister bowl ritual: "the process of creation by fire is a staple of my existence and it seemed necessary to destroy an object born of fire, by fire."
Date: April-May 2005
Venue: Artist’s studio, Pretoria
Media: 2 Bronze bowls, Fire & Lavender
Fire is often seen only as a primal destructive force. However, the process of creation by fire is a staple of my existence and it seemed necessary to destroy an object born of fire, by fire.
The two bowls were created in different styles, each one having personal significance for me. I then chose which bowl I wanted to accommodate the re-born remains. Adding lavender as the representation of female energy and for the cleansing aroma, I set to work with an acetylene torch.
Using an acetylene torch is a far slower melting procedure than the usual method of melting bronze in a crucible furnace. The time and the process are extremely meditative and I used that time to reflect on many other life processes.
One of the more interesting aspects of melting bronze into a bronze container is that the very act changes the receptacle as well. The heat from the molten metal causes changes to occur even in the vessel not directly exposed to the flame. The colours change from the heat and the shape may contort. So, as with many things in life, the untouched vessel is changed from within.
As the final steps in the ritual, another sprig of lavender was added, which burned solely from the trapped heat of the bronze. Then, the fused vessels were quenched in water as a final, joint purification.
It is my belief that the function of the artist is to act as the conscience of the society in which he or she functions. However, I believe the best way to do this is not to provide “so-called” answers, moral lessons or morbid prognostication in art. It is my hope that the audience will instead find questions and trigger debates, within their own reference zones, that will allow them to develop their own discerning search for self.
My work has always dealt with the subconscious pathways hidden in our minds and the fears that prevent us from following them. This flows naturally into the Ansister theme as the collective consciousness of the human race is influenced by our past and our fears.
Posted 25 June 2005, www.face.org.za, author: Kay Potts.