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On the Floor

“I am looking for creatures,” I tell the man who is watching me suspiciously. My hands brush away hair and dust – I am on my knees. It is no act of worship which has lead me to crawling around the cathedral floor for the past two weeks, it is these wild creations. Underneath the thick plastic carpets, wolves are roaming the marble, eagles and lions are everywhere and even an astronaut is waving his antennas.

A book of imaginary beings comes alive under my feet: nameless hybrids and mythical beasts pop up from the floor. I see pygmies, dragons, jellyfish, cockroaches, angels, nymphs, a rabbit (the Lunar Hare) and a unicorn. I also see weapons, warships, fire and skeletons. A yellow ox trots along black fields. A phoenix snares at ordinary birds. A winged hourglass tries to fly out of Father Time’s hands; the clocks are broken. It is as if all those skulls and bones had brought along another world, a magical timeless world of fantastical creatures for us to look at, not as a reminder of death and decay, but as a reminder of life. I start talking to them, and they tell their stories. Lady goose has an idea; a shooting star comes out of her head. Dancing angels blaspheme the Lamia – half woman, half serpent – who whistle sweetly since they cannot speak. Less gentle are the Harpies, with women’s faces and vultures’ bodies, eternally caught in their insatiable hunger and foul smell. Putti lovingly cradle skulls while an Indian studies Roman numbers. A griffin comments on my nail polish. I am laughing to myself as towers collapse. The Cheshire Cat joins my laughter.

We tread on beauty.

Photographic series taken from marble floors in Malta and Italy (ongoing)
Archival prints behind glass, 20 x 30 cm, 2011-2017