2008, Swan, black lacquered wood, 23 cm x 46 cm x 198 cm

Knoten is a swan aloft, wings hugging, a 6ft high block of lacquered black wood, the width and height of a person. In the highly polished surface we can see our own reflection. The swan, whose whiteness, strength and grace make it a living manifestation of light itself, is often referred to as the “royal” bird. Its death makes reference to the image of the crucifixion.

We find the neck of the swan tied in a knot. There is much symbolism surrounding the knot: the ancient Egyptians considered the knot to be an emblem of life, the “knot of Isis” being a symbol of immortality. In Islamic tradition knots are regarded as symbols of protection (knots in beards worn to ward off the evil eye). In Buddhist thinking, the purpose of life is to break the seal of the soul/ loosen the bonds that tie it down – so that when the knots are unraveled, death (or the next life) ensues.