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.