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Frances Grafton: Herd in Stone

April 29, 1999 - April 29, 1999

Frances Grafton?s installation Herd in Stone is timely. The two hundred-year-old furor over the ownership of the Elgin Marbles is once again very much in the public eye in Europe.

In 1996, Grafton visited the British Museum to view the Elgin Marbles. Like many people, she experienced wonder that these works have been preserved, while at the same time, she wanted to see the paltry few remaining in the Parthenon. She visited Athens and was moved to create something that would draw attention to the separation of the marbles, emphasize the disparity and symbolically reunite the pieces.

Each of Grafton?s drawings took approximately one month to produce. Building up layers of graphite with pencil, she partially erased them and then built the layers up again. The process was sculptural: her hand chipping away at the expanse of the paper, evoking the original act of the anonymous artisan. It was while drawing the worn areas of ruined and broken stone that Grafton was most able to abstract the image to create her own imagery.

More than 20 life-size drawings ? just a handful from the Parthenon and many more from the British Museum ? are hung, unframed and edge-to-edge, to suggest a frieze. Each drawing is labelled according to its present location ? London or Athens.

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