DESTROYER OF WORLDS

MATTHEW BRADLEY
DESTROYER OF WORLDS

2016

EXHIBITION TEXTS

Time is the fire in which we burn

The physical appearance of one of my first 'failed' metal casting experiments began a trajectory of thought which gave rise to an imagined narrative of a Precambrian Earth/Alien encounter. In this narrative; during a great battle in space, set against a boiling black Earth, gouged and crackling with volcanic lava, fragments of the debris of a destroyed spacecraft fall through the proto-atmosphere toward the surface of the planet. Something about the surface texture of this early casting suggested to me the patina one might expect of an ancient alien relic. Something exotic was possesed by and expressed by the materiality of this object, in the specific configuration of its particles suspended in space. The very alienness of the thing itself failed to undermine the emerging fiction, somehow in fact it lent it some plausability. The material reality of the artefact Remnant is unequivocal. It has a presence as a thing with real mass and weight, a presence that bears the evidence of its coming into being. It is a factual relic of a casting event. Its appearance is not simulated, it’s a direct result of the method and moments of its creation and it asserts a truth of being that is uninterrupted and uncorrupted right the way through and beyond its subatomic dimentions. It also has, by chance, and attempted managed failure, the patina one might expect of an object that fell through the atmosphere, onto the surface of the Earth, was folded into the Earths crust, melted by geologic heat, recast in its Earthen mould and finally excavated a billion and a half years later.

Andromeda,  What would it be like to be a superbeing, What would it be like to have superpowers, to skip from galaxy to galaxy, planet to planet simply by casting your gaze. Andromeda is the golden leg of a super being, an artefact from our nearest galaxy. It was formed around a cast of my own leg. It looks like a piece of lower leg armour, like a piece of iron mans suit but without all the weaponry. In my mind it differs from the traditional suit, it has special properties. For instance, a traditional suit is made up of pieces which are specifically moulded for one part of the body, and which are not exchangeable with any other part; you cannot wear a shin piece on your head for instance. However this piece could be the whole rather than a fragment. It could be caught mid-transformation, shifting from a non-human machinic object and growing into a human form, exploiting compatibility at a sub-atomic level. Also, is there a vulnerable being inside it which is being protected? Perhaps not, perhaps it is the thing in itself, a thoughtform, a vitality, or a potentiality of being that is traversing matter. It has become a vehicle through which I can speculate on latent potentialities present and extant within matter itself. Might we or do we already enter into assemblages with matter that extend our abilities or further, enable unlimited access to manifold forms of being.

There is infinity in vessel design, an inexhaustible catalogue of possible forms. I've decided to stay a while in this infinity, for the time it takes me to make One Hundred Vessels. Can these One Hundred vessels world, can each of them bring forth a whole world, a whole other infinity itself? Worlds with their own atmospheres, geology, flora and fauna, cultures, peoples, systems of beliefs, political structures, universes, such that shifting ones gaze between them might cause a sensation of geographic, psychic, cosmic and temporal drifts. Together they sit, worlds upon worlds upon worlds. Worlds unrecorded in human history, interstices between known civilisations. Lost, buried, excavated.

So far, as far as castings go, many of the vessels have been failures, but it is important to the overall project that they are included in the set. The set of one hundred, when finished, should tell the whole story of my development and gradually improving ability as a metal caster. This journey should be evident in the vessels themselves. There should be evidence of struggle and of failure, there should be evidence of technical breakthroughs as well as observable periods where ambition, inspiration and imagination flourishes. From a practical point of view, the ultimate goal is significant bridging of the gap between what can be imagined and what can be technically produced.

In the centre of this group of works sits the furnace that I built at the beginning of this adventure. A crucible full of molten bronze, as it comes out of the furnace, looks like a small sun. The furnace is a sun factory or galaxy. These little suns form the centre of a new solar system in my backyard. All my efforts, my labour and my dreams orbiting this little furnace. In the gallery the furnace is cold and silent, all its heat and light has radiated out into space. The time of this little furnace is known as The Year of a Thousand Suns. The sun is the giver of life, in whose warmth and light we reside for a time. When a sun dies, its core contracts, the helium atoms in the core fuse together forming carbon atoms under the enormous pressure of its own gravity. It is thought that dead suns are full of diamonds.

Matthew Bradley

Each vessel is empty; it contains no soil
and rooted plant or seed, no flower or
foliage arrangement, no wax and
wick, no honey-steeped gauze and organ,
no dried rose petals, and no
ash. Each vessel contains, is filled with,
its own emptiness. Though each vessel
will have come to contain, be filled with,
the difference between A: the inanimate
“man-made” vessel that is embodied in the
cast bronze, aluminium, brass, etc., and B: the
animate “made-as-man” vessel of the human
body, cast in the womb of its mother, present,
taking-place in the world—still warm
from the kiln. That is, each vessel
will have come to contain, be filled with,
for a while, each given while, each
viewer’s unique print of their circulating
ions of an attention upon it. But when I
see any one of these vessels have I not
been dead for thousands upon
thousands of years? But are not all the
disappeared minds and hearts and hands of
peoples and times which constitute the
multifarious origins of these vessels as
a single unfolded, stretched, and torn
to shreds and put back together again
with parts missing body-of-work
the design and production of a single,
solitary artist? That is, each vessel is born
a relic, and remains a newborn relic,
ageless, in general, without a history,
without a world, specifically in general,
a relic for today, a relic for this
moment that is already gone, reborn
under a black bone dry lightening
knotted sky—like a churning slab of
charcoaled brain in the throes
of an horizonless epiphany—as a spindly Möbius
strip-shaped plume of red radioactive dust,
random motes of which fleetingly land upon and
pass along and rebound off a cast
bronze vessel’s surfaces. It may be many
more thousands of years before I see again
another vessel, that is also only a turn
or a lift or a lowering of the skull or
eyeball, a bending or a twist of the
spine, which creaks like a wicker
chair inside the centre of the earth—being
only a question of when and how
who or what has come to sit
or rearrange upon it—it of a certain
design. Or maybe a footstep or two, which
crackles like a Precambrian rain upon the
twisted wreckage of a spacecraft.