Abigail O'Brien - 2002
A collaboration with Mary Kelly
Sang from the heart, Sire
Dipped my beak in it
If the tune drip too much
Have a tint of Red
Pardon the Cochineal –
Suffer the Vermilion.
– by Emily Dickenson
How to Butterfly a Leg of Lamb looks at ritual, sexuality and cultural mores. Rituals are procedures, which we use to transform one reality into another and therefore make it safe. Preparing food is a complex and messy business and here we examine the tradition of butchery. This work explores the tension between linear step-by-step instructions and the raw reality of butterflying a leg of lamb. Emily Dickinson refers in her poem to the parts of a woman that can be bloody, ferocious and strong. Acknowledging cultural convention and not without irony, she begs the readers pardon, for giving voice to her observations.
The collection contains images (above) and one film, (below).
The sacrificial Lamb has strong religious connotations as the substitute emblem for human sacrifice. The image of woman as pure and innocent has to be altered in order for her reality to be re-negotiated.
‘Since to be feminine is to have qualities that are the opposite or negation, of ideal masculine qualities, for a long time it was hard to elaborate the attractiveness of the strong woman in other than mythic or allegorical guise’ -Susan Sontag