Proposal for a Romantic Sculpture. 2012

Video Embedded in Sculptural Form. Video: 5 min. loop on iPod, specially commissioned tattoo of song title ‘ne me quitte pas‘ by Jacques Brel. Sculptural Form: 29 cm X 29 cm X 100 cm, Marble and Wood



“A tattoo inscribed on one’s body asking a lover not to leave is a gift. This gift is marked onto the body eternally and not given with the expectation of - as is common - another gift in return. The difficulty of giving an equally valuable gift in return is heightened by the fact that the body-inked words “Don’t leave me” indicate extreme vulnerability. But, it is this performance of vulnerability that is ‘the gift’, signifying the intensity of a classic romanticism but, also a kind of cruelty or vengeance. The vulnerability and romanticism presented on an iPod gain weight and strong material presence when embedded in a sculptural form made of marble and wood and echoing the minimalist tradition. Both the act of romanticism embodied by the tattoo film and the formalist act of embedding the image in a minimalist object are acts that monumentalize an unidentified romantic relationship, but this is a broken monumentality. The tattoo will vanish when the body dies, the wood will rot, as for the video looped on the iPod, well, we have no idea where the billions of yottabytes of digital imagery and information will end up, so like today’s marble remains from antiquity’s civilizations, probably only this humble slab of marble will remain in the future making this proposal for a romantic sculpture at once a gift yet a curse, vulnerable yet monumental, and immanent yet ephemeral. What is love if not these binaries?” Bassam El Baroni