I stand here before you, not knowing my name.
The light in this place is so blinding, so intense, that as far back as I can remember, it has forced me to close my eyes. Now this is about to change. Coming out of a brilliant haze, here is her footfall. Here she is: my Creator. I am clay in her hands. Let her do with me as she pleases; for what am I to do?
Now listen, listen to that sound: the air is vibrating around her. I can feel her breast, it is heaving. I can hear her breathing in, breathing out... Yes, she is coming closer. Is she about to blow life into me? My skin starts shivering. Here, now, is her touch—
She puts a mark on me, pressing the sharp end of a chisel until it stings, it pierces me right here, under my eyelid. I shriek! I cry—but somehow no one can hear me. If I were not reduced to tears, I would pay more attention to this nagging sense, the sense of astonishment in me. Why, why can’t I be heard? Have I lost the ability to make a sound? Then I wonder, did I ever have it? And even in this crinkling, crushing silence, can’t she sense my pain?
It is not until later, when she pulls out the blade, that I become afflicted—for the first time in my life—with vision. To you, vision may be a gift, but I think it a burden. Emerging from the glow that has so far pervaded my existence, I open my eyes.The haze is gone. Alas, there is not much to see here around me. This is a dim place. A place of doubt. Clutter. Confusion. From this point on, I start sensing shadows. I find myself forced to make some sense of them.
So first, I spot her, the Creator. She is twice as tall as I am. With a heavy step, she paces around the space, coming in and out of my field of vision. Then, looking down, I spot that other presence, which in my blindness I could only guess. Him.
I used to imagine he was flat, a slab of clay. But now, to my surprise, he is no longer that. He, too, has risen from his slumber, yet he is not fully alive. Like me, he is immobile. At first glance he is blurry, gradually turning sharper and gaining more and more definition.
His hand is extended, as if to reach, to touch me. This, I figure, is a gesture of hope; which, out of spite, I may as well turn down. Being so close to him brings me too close to blushing, but I will never allow him to put a hand on me, and neither will she.
With a great deal of precision, the Creator coils a metal wire around the palm of his hand, loops it around and ties it to my fingers, fixing a small distance between us: clay, separation, clay. That way we are close—but not quite intimate.From time to time, a slight vibration is transmitted from him. It comes through the coils, in a quiver that pierces me all the way through, right into the deepest parts of my flesh. The sound is, for lack of a better word, metallic. It sings about our pain, about the tension between us. I listen, and so does he. Weakness runs through our limbs, it twists in secret places inside us. He does his best to hold still, bravely maintaining his pose. And so do I.
This story is told from the point of view of a figure of clay. The inspiration came to me when I was sculpting this piece, and imagining her voice :
"The ideas seem from a different realm of non-reality, but they are so immaculately constructed that each work becomes a little treasure to visit repeatedly."
- Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer