weeping woman 2001 Clare Hall Cambridge
The giant woman of Prague, as created by Sylvie Germain in her 1992
novel The Weeping Woman on the Streets of Prague, exists in between
the visible and invisible worlds, hovering, limping between life and
death, a figure of compassion and grief, who personifies the continuous
presence of tears. In the book there are fourteen sections, perhaps
paralleling the fourteen Stations of the Cross in Christian practice.
The installation comprises five different sequences, each of fourteen
things, some more closely related to the text than others, but all bringing
out the rhythm of the repeatedness of the giant woman’s appearances.
The Book Marks are clay tablets which stand on a copy of the book and
the Pillow Books are clay envelopes containing “lines”of
the book shredded to create aphoristic messages. The Fumaroles, smoke
holes, demonstrate the differing responses that clay and paper have
to fire. The Appearances, made from two photographic transparences printed
together, make the woman manifest in the city.The Companion Sticks are
to help her - and us - on our path.
That is how I see the whole thing - as a way of keeping company with
the weeping woman. The work has a direct connection with the earlier
How do Women Walk? in using a giant female figure at its centre.
My thanks to my son Max Burrows for some of the images of Prague which
were taken on a joint visit to the city in 1996 and to Sylvie Germain
for generously encouraging us to “use” her text.