So, I cannot resist the obvious Hamlet reference here. But, I’m not going to go with the ol’ standard “To be, or not to be” soliloquy, though thematically it would work well. Instead, allow me to quote Hamlet from Act V, Scene i:
Mortality is a funny thing. And, by funny, I mean, of course, terrifying. The simple but assured fact of our death looms heavily. The skull represents (aside from badassedness) the physical self, a remnant of a once vibrant human life. It is a reminder of the temporality of corporeal existence. This is the cause of Hamlet’s achy, breaky bones. This is what the Parisian artist known as Jim Skull captures through sculpture.
The Greek Tragedy, Orpheus and Eurydice, might help illuminate the significance of string in Skull’s work. Wanton lovers, Eurydice and Orpheus, were forced apart, when Eurydice was killed while walking through the forest. Orpheus, described as having the ability to animate the inanimate with his ability to play the lyre (a string instrument), was so distraught that he ventured into the underworld to retrieve his love. Daringly, Orpheus played his way back to Eurydice, who he finds within the fragile confines of her room of strings. Charmed by Orpheus songs, Hades gave Eurydice another chance at life with one caveat: she must follow behind Orpheus, and he must never look back to her until they are beyond the gates of the underworld. I won’t divulge whether or not they make, but I will say that Bruce Willis was dead the entire time.
String, like life, is delicate and silly. It is strong despite size; it is provides boundaries that bend; it can be tuned; it can be cut (short). In Greek Mythology, Clotho, one of the Three Fates, spun the thread of life, deciding on birth and death. One’s life was dependent on that thread, on that string. Thus, in antiquity, string defined mortality. Though we don’t carry the perception, Jim Skull, as his art suggests, still does.
I don’t know about you, but I hope I’ve got plenty of string left.