A whole lot of Greek going on

Colour, History, Philosophy, Soul searching

The symbolism and history of Troy is immense, the Trojan horse, not only as great tactic of war and deception but a pivotal moment in ethics of morality. Simon Armitage considers “how we are locked in the same cycles of conflict and revenge, of east versus west, and the same mixture of pride, lies and self-deception that fed the Trojan War”. In the moral world of the Greeks, revenge was the way to go and there was great honour in that. Now in modern or perhaps western understanding there is a shift because of the way society is organised and social needs , the way we think of ourselves as human has changed. Perhaps we believe that the shift from vengeance to justice and forgiveness much greater in the moral compass. In many ways we fool ourselves into a deception of thinking how we would react, if a situation would arise that provoked us would be vengeful?

I felt I needed to research a little bit before writing about this piece but consequently it is harder to finish. It has taken a bit more working out. Having studied Classics at A level, the subject is not too foreign however, my memory appalling. In its own twist of fate I happened to listen to a ‘Start the Week’ episode on Radio 4 about Greek Tragedy and it would appear that with the memorial of world war one this year there is a harbouring back to the past about war and tragedy. Perhaps I am scrambling up all that was discussed in the programme and not coming out with much sense but it highlighted to me again the idea of the subconscious interconnection of ideas between artists. In this case there is definately a lot focus on Greek history this month. So in a good arts and culture plug: The Last Days of Troy is on at the Royal Exchange, Manchester from 8 May – 7 June and then at Shakespeare’s Globe, London from 10 – 28 June. Thebans, with words by Frank McGuinness and composed by Julian Anderson, is at the London Coliseum until 3 June. The writer Kenan Malik’s book ‘The Quest for a Moral compass’ is also out this month and in discussion at the Hay Festival this weekend (30 th May).

In a more rural setting, in a small village a sculpture stands in a studio. This epic piece took its own journey of making ( as you can see from the images in the entry ‘Space to play, place to work’) From a block of polystyrene the craftmanship of this is paramount to those Greek and Roman sculptors of past.

'Troy'

‘Troy’

'Troy'

‘Troy’

It is a contemporary recreation of an idea that fascinates my husband. The horse itself as an animal a majestic creature and the idea that sculptors, craftsmen, creators have been making things for centuries. This work may seem very different in style from recent works which have been more minimal more geometric such as the ‘Souls’ pieces.

There is the link of colour but there is also the link of ‘Soul’. For me ‘Troy’ is not just the idea of a tactic of war and of armies or military power. It is the shift from the outward reality to the internal.  The human condition internalized. We may not personally seek vengeance on the gods as in Greek history but we analyse and over analyse our behaviour our minds. However, like the horse on the outside, impressive, beautiful and an object of admiration, inside destruction is about to manifest. So, today are we, on the individual level, all about making an external impression, beautifying ourself and showing off our achievements.  Objectifing and materializing. We forget our integrity and what is hiding within. Our own internal beauty gets lost and so where is our ‘Soul’.

 

Self Actualisation

Beautiful Bronze, Colour, Philosophy, Relationships, Soul searching

I was listening to the radio whilst driving the other day and caught a snippet of discussion about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which was a visual map about what motivates people. It was said that if undergraduates of psychology recall anything they remember the pyramid diagram of the stage model of five motivational needs. I smiled because, indeed as my psychology degree lies somewhere hidden underneath the blankets of motherhood and I could visualise the pyramid and it’s five stages , well I could remember the first being food and shelter and the last being self actualisation, what ever that meant.

The radio programme went on to discuss that Maslow, only listed 18 people who had reached self actualisation, including Einstein and himself I think. When looking at the characteristics of self-actualizers to write this, I think my husband ticks most of the list. He is so unbelievably motivated. On the programme they discussed that Maslow’s conception was someone who had a “heightened sense of awareness and reality” or “completely absorbed in an activity and don’t know time passing”. I would say this is totally my husband and could give countless examples. The thinking is all about “Possibilities not restraints” and the possibilities of change and of the human being. 

There are so many flaws with Maslow’s theory especially if looking at artists. Van Gogh lived most his life in poverty and probably didn’t have the middle stages but arguments have said he was self actualised. However, I would perhaps argue Van Gogh wasn’t, he was exploring his creativity and pursuing inner talent but without the support of the base of the pyramidal needs he wasn’t able to reach self actualisation. My instinct is to think that in order to reach self actualisation you must have worked through the pyramidal needs. To have actually experienced what it is like to not have had. If we are from a privileged background where the basic needs of food and shelter are not tested and we become complacent that they are a given, then reaching our potential is hindered. The drive the ambition is not likely to be as great.

I am so unmotivated, far from being self actualised, however I do think in my role as ‘Sculptors wife’ could be classified totally as ‘helping others to achieve self s’. Which could put me at the peak of the pyramid in ‘Transcendence needs’  in the revised version and eight stage model. Not that it’s a competition or anything! Unfortunately that puts my whole theory on its head. I rather like the idea of being transcendent though I could get motivated about that 🙂

I have just trawled through my entries to see if I have put images of this piece up before. I was convinced I had but it wasn’t where I thought it was and looking very different in my past entry. It had a face lift after the fire, it is still bronze but somehow giving it this cover links with the ‘branding’ of my husband’s work. It sort of symbolises motivation. You do have to take that leap of faith and take the step forward in reaching your aims. I think Maslow would be happy with this;

big step 1

‘The Big Step Forward’

‘The Big Step Forward’

big step

‘The Big Step Forward’