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posted on October 30, 2016 | Sculpture and Art
Reflections of The Granite Madonna


A composite of three frames of a video
of The Granite Madonna
by Mark Wunsch.

Mark Wunsch showed
me his video of my
Granite Madonna,
I was ecstatic to see how beautifully it portrayed
the piece and how well it captured how I thought and
felt about it.  It amazed me. 
Then he showed me a second
video he had made from the same footage, reflecting
the rotating sculpture against itself in various
ways, and it blew me clear away.

By imposing simple mirror-image
bilateral symmetry on his simple footage of my
simply-formed sculpture, and by placing virtual mirrors
strategically in editing, what he created goes far beyond real
sculptures carved from real rocks to something else again. 
is abstract, it is beautiful in its own right and fascinating
in its own ways, almost without reference to any
conceivable solid thing.  Although I know
it is not, it seems totally

As long as I’ve
lived with that rock,
intimately as I’ve dreamed of its form,
and as surely as I know Mark’s footage is
photographically, the patterns that evolve
here don’t seem real, are not real, and could never
be real the way rocks are real.  Virtual mirrors reflect
virtual sculptures in impossible ways. Granite rocks can’t
rotate against real mirrors – – one or both would break.
Mark’s mirrors run through the rock and the rock runs
through the mirrors.  But two or more solid hard
brittle things in the same time and place and
not interacting?  That’s surprising, and
it’s one way Reflections
doesn’t seem real.

Her’s another
way it doesn’t seem real.  In
the first video, what looks like a rock
actually is a rock.  It conjures a madonna, but
it’s still a rock.  It was a rock, is a rock, and will
always be a rock, no matter what anyone may think
or feel about it, including me.  If it’s a rock
, I expect it
to behave like a rock.  I’ve seen millions and millions of
them in my life, and except for almost-rocks in a volcano,
they all stayed the same shape from time to time.  I trust
my life to that assumption, but Reflections
contradicts it
from start to finish.  What appears solid and rocky
in one frame morphs into different solid rocks
in the next and the next and the next
until the end. 

No part of it
could be real in the world I’ve
always lived in, yet in violating the
cold, hard rockiness of the rock, the
film helps me appreciate the
real form of the real stone
Granite Madonna.


To make the
image at the top, I blended
three frames of the video to show them
all at once.  This moved them
even further
from reality than Mark had done.  P
the farther from reality we pushed the patterns,
the more powerfully 
they informed me,
visually, of what I had carved, and
I appreciated it more. 

We can imagine
a third video from the same footage.
The unreal, phase-shifted, time-blended,
shape shifted landscape of the image at the top
would be just one frame of a film going on
from there.  How many views of the
first two would it take to ‘see’
the whole third film in
my mind’s eye?

Edited August 2022

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