Chris­tine Borland
Con­ser­va­to­ry

12th May – 5th June 2004

In this series of new works, Chris­tine Bor­land con­tin­ues to relate the His­to­ry of Med­i­cine to con­tem­po­rary med­ical prac­tice, with a par­tic­u­lar inter­est in its inter­face with the pub­lic. Com­bin­ing new tech­niques and new tech­nol­o­gy used in Med­ical edu­ca­tion with ancient crafts tech­nolo­gies like porce­lain man­u­fac­ture, she pro­pos­es far-reach­ing eth­i­cal ques­tions for us to con­sid­er both in terms of the progress’ of our soci­ety and on an inti­mate and time­less per­son­al level.

Both the frag­ment­ed ceram­ic piece, Con­ser­va­to­ry and her on-going series of pho­tographs which include smashed water­mel­ons — The Veloc­i­ty of Drops recog­nise the beau­ty inher­ent in destruc­tion, while serv­ing as reminders of the endur­ing qual­i­ties of even the most vul­ner­a­ble of objects, the human form. On this occa­sion the pho­tographs are set in the dra­mat­ic loca­tion of a 19th Cen­tu­ry state­ly home, Mount Stu­art on the Isle of Bute in Scot­land. Dur­ing World War 1, the Bute fam­i­ly ini­ti­at­ed the use of their home as a Naval Hos­pi­tal. For 3 years it treat­ed casu­al­ties from the infa­mous sea bat­tles of the Great War, while the fam­i­ly con­tin­ued to reside there. The titles of the rooms where the water­mel­ons are locat­ed indi­cate their trans­for­ma­tion dur­ing this time – the Library into an X‑Ray Room, the Mas­ter Bed­room into the Dis­pen­sary, the Con­ser­va­to­ry into the Oper­at­ing The­atre etc.

The frag­ments of Con­ser­va­to­ry, rem­i­nis­cent of small pieces of weath­ered porce­lain col­lect­ed on the beach, are full of pathos while remain­ing col­lec­table and desir­able, despite the destruc­tion of the orig­i­nal whole – a com­plete human skeleton.