Sadie Coles HQ | Balfour Mews
James George Frazer opened his anthropological study The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (1890) with a description of J. M. W. Turner’s 1834 painting of the same title. “Suffused with the golden glow of imagination,” Frazer wrote, the painting of the Italian woodland around Lake Nemi depicts the site of a “strange and recurring tragedy.” In antiquity, one might find a priest guarding the sacred tree, waiting to be killed for his priesthood in the same way that he killed his predecessor. Steven Claydon called his recent exhibition “The Gilded Bough,” and his slight modulation of Frazer’s title nods to the ways in which ideas mutate as they pass between cultures and through time. In keeping with this concept, he produced two versions of the bough for the show. Stochastic Conveyor (Transference), 2016, is a twenty-one-foot-long resin cast of a wooden beam, oriented
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