Sisyphus Redeemed I


When in 1968 I read Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus, I wanted to free Sisyphus; I did not want him or anybody to live life doing a meaningless task. When in 2010, faces and body parts appeared in the clay, as if coming from inside a rock, rounded, as though years, centuries, millenniums of rolling had worn away its rough edges to reveal in its markings the faces and bodies of those it enclosed, I called it "Sisyphus' Rock". The faces were of those he had done wrong; the rock was his awareness, remorse and expiation of the sins he had committed and the reason he had accepted the punishment. When I etched the rock, beside the image of a man emerging clean, having cast the shell of his old self, I realized that it had to be Sisyphus; he had been liberated.

The story ends, and continues: Over millenniums the rolling rock had carved a groove in the mountain and channeled rain to form underground reservoirs to irrigate a desert land, a desert century. When the rock which had become small, cracked in two, and like budding wings on his stone-like back becoming sensitive, Sisyphus carried it down the gentler slope of the mountain, towards the future, the present.

A folder with 7 prints from the series of Sisyphus 2011 can be seen in the Print and Drawings Study Room of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

25.5 x 18.5 cm.

Plates used

Cutting emotional attachments
Chorus of the unborn
Chorus of the born
The dark is fuel for the light
Chorus of the waters
People of the flow
The arch of the dawn
Wings of idealism and/or democracy
The dress of the flowering