In Search of the Purple Fish. Sculpture by Malcolm Tait

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PIR Motion Sensor
Outstretched Arms
Flight Deck

Art Description

Sculpture: Wood, Stone, Steel, Lights, Found Objects on Stainless Steel, Wood, Stone.

A fuller explanation and details of the work can be found on my blog ahardworkingartist.com

"Our English word purple comes from Latin purpureus, which comes from Greek porphyra, a noun denoting the purplefish. This sea mollusk, properly the purple limpet or murex, was the source from which all purple and red dyes were obtained in antiquity. But the purplefish had another name in ancient Greek, namely kalche, and from this word was derived a verb and a metaphor and a problem for translators. The verb kalchainein, “to search for the purplefish,” came to signify profound and troubled emotion: to grow dark with disquiet, to seethe with worries, to search in the deep of one’s mind, to harbour dark thoughts, to brood darkly”(1).

I first came across the term “in search of the Purple Fish” in Anne Carson’s book Float. In the section “A Right to Remain Silent” the text varies slightly but the explanation and source is what started this piece of work. I think it was the idea of a colour expressing the depth of ones thought that appealed to my painterly intuitions.

“Tyrian purple may first have been used by the ancient Phoenicians as early as 1570 BC. The dye was greatly prized in antiquity because the colour did not easily fade, but instead became brighter with weathering and sunlight. Its significance is such that the name Phoenicia means 'land of purple.' It came in various shades, the most prized being that of "blackish clotted blood". (2)

It is also an idea that has always accompanied humanity, that introspection, as we seek to understand ourselves and our place in community, society, nation and the world. Something the greatest minds have laboured with; that artists have explored, composers and musicians come so close to touching and although it is something which I cannot explain or answer it is a joy to have that sense of being that the search stimulates.

(1) Anne Carson – from “Variations on the Right to Remain Silent” from A Public Space, Issue 7 / 2008
(2) Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrian_purple


Subjects:

In Search of the Purple Fish.

Malcolm Tait

United Kingdom

Sculpture

Size: 18.9 W x 24.4 H x 18.1 in

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