North pavilion, 'Her Wilderness (Hinge)' (paper, pencil, pigment, household paint, ink)
Woodland by the Quair Burn, 'Her Wilderness (Actaeon)' (green oak, mild steel)
I placed two oak sculptures in the Quair burn, and related drawings in the pavilion. The intension was to explore how I might make spaces in which one could experience transformation of some kind. This derives from a concern that in our reliance on rational experience as a means to interpret our world, we have largely abandoned a broader appreciation of the varying degrees of ‘reality’ - revelation, trance, and so on. We have as it were evolved out of an earlier, more integrated poetic reverie. Such movement between states is still available to us however and we have probably all on occasion stumbled into such transformative experiences in a crowded street or walking in a woodland.
The artwork stemmed from the story of Actaeon discovering the goddess Artemis (or Diana) bathing, which was depicted on the ceiling of the North pavilion. Actaeon is ritualistically transformed into a deer and torn apart by his own hounds. The story alludes to its pre-hellenistic ritualistic form, where Actaeon, as an oracular oak-king and consort to Artemis, would have been sacrificed as a stag during Her festival and his limbs scattered. Here Artemis, goddess of the wild wood, is in her new-moon aspect of renewal. The work pivoted on the relationship between the deer and the hound, and the transformation of the hunter into the hunted and sought to define a physical space in which the transformation could be enacted.
The myth has an innate familiarity, reaching back into early archetypal forms and as such represents something of a template from which transformative space could be explored.
Mark Haddon primarily makes objects and drawings displaying wide-ranging formal and conceptual concerns. After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art, and Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee, he has exhibited extensively, here in the UK and abroad, including The Netherlands, Poland and the USA. He has participated in various collaborative and curatorial projects, and most recently was awarded the 2015 Visual Art Scotland, Richard Coley Sculpture Award.