January 2015

Land of plenty

I called my last piece “Cockaigne”, borrowing the title, as the previous title of exhibition “Pomp and Circumstance” from an Elgar’s Ouverture.
Cockaigne, which gave the name to the famous drug, is the name of the land of plenty, a dimension of earthly delights, overflowing abundance, rivers of milk and honey and hills of sugar glaze, pleasures of senses and joy of spirit. It was considered antidote or reward for asceticism and dearth. Maybe drug itself, effect of which brings in similar, only illusory, fulfillment, substituted in our world this vanishing realm.
The still life is a classical Vanitas, in which i put a bit of meditation on my own state. It is comprised of skull reminding of inevitability of death and exhaustion of life in a human, jewelry referring to our outer adornment, and a coin, all symbols of “This mortal coil” as called by Shakespeare. Do we end in the land of plenty after life of chasing vanishing delight?
At the same time it has a double symbolism, pointing at modern rock culture. Is it a dead end, a false intoxication or a real path to unknown realms? Or does it lead to substitution of real dreams of Cockaigne with illusory ones under similar name?
‘Cockaigne’ was a term used by moralists at the time of Elgar as a metaphor for gluttony and drunkenness, while Britain adopted the name humorously for London. (wiki)
I also googled for use of this title by artists and found only one….and by who? – by one of my favorite artists Will Cotton. My little unsophisticated piece is a little ‘taking my hat off’ for his artistic land of plenty.

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