In search of a new place and butterflies: 2017
Cornwall was chosen because it is a mythical and rough place, exposed to many elements, at the most western part of England ("Land's End"), and close to the open sea and the Gulfstream. The artist, a fisherman at age 15, made a couple of trips on a trawler O.182 Cleopatra around Land's End heading towards Bristol Channel and Lundy island.
January 2017, Launch in Cornwall
Who was with us?
Five of us travelled over to Cornwall – among them the artist, a photographer, a camera man, all visiting Cornwall for the very first time. We did not all know each other before. We shared a house and spent 3 days inside the project, prospecting places, launching the heads, sharing ideas and experiences. Each one of us within our own relationship to the land, the objects, and each other, shaping the story of the project and it many layers of meaning together. We had touching and warm encounters along the way, with seamen, artists, coast guards, other locals and travellers.
Number one – Porthchapel beach
Number one was launched from a sandy beach on the Cornwall south-west coast. Close to Porthcurno which at some point in time was a very important hub for telegraph communication.
The beach was down in a cove surrounded by steep cliffs and the holy well of St Levan. Fine sand, emerald water, seals in the sea – quite magical with the sun shining on it. We spent a meditative afternoon watching the head struggling with the incoming tide. The sea decides what it takes or not. We did several attempts to throw the head in the high waters, relying on a system of ropes and weights.
The hours slipped by and it was after dark when we returned to our cars, to find them locked into the church parking lot. We called the caretaker who called upon us because we had not put parking money into the bin. She came and liberated us, and after paying her 5 pounds, we were free to go again.
The next days we found the head washed ashore on the same beach, with many footsteps in the sand around it, sitting straight up and facing the sea. It had obviously been visited many times. We launched it again, from a rock this time, and the day after we could not visually locate it anymore.
Number two – Porthnanven beach
There is another magical beach at the west shore of Cornwall, not far from Cape Cornwall. It was the first beach we visited and it appealed to us right away. It is covered with big white stones and boulders, beautiful forms and shapes, in stark contrast with the dark cliffs around the beach. Again our attempts to launch the head from the beach did not work, so I climbed with the head over several rows of rocks on the side of the beach. I put it in a small cove in between rocks as the tide was coming in. Upon inspection the next day, the head was no longer there.
Number three – between Newlyn and Mousehole
The 2 other sculptures had been launched from picturesque beaches, and we wanted a different context for the last one. We prospected from Penzance to Mousehole, where there are many places where something can be dropped from the coastal walkway into the sea. After dark, as the tide was turning, we dropped the sculpture from Cliff Road close to Roskilly beach. The wind was coming from the north, and very quickly the sculpture washed away, brushing against the rocks.
Got a message from Sennen Cove
One day, I noticed I had missed a phone call from a UK number. A couple of days later, I received a FaceBook invitation to befriend a woman from Sennen Cove. We started chatting. Her husband, a fisherman, had spotted one of the heads in high seas, and had brought it in.