Homo Mensura is an anthropomorphic sculpture made of a life-sized stacking of archetypical ancient Greek vases. You see two Lekythoi for the legs, a torso is formed by a Krater and a Stamnos (with added breast-shapes) and a Kylix makes a head. The red- and black-figure images on the vases are inspired by classical vase-paintings. I created a compilation of various mythical subjects, which are in dialogue with contemporary debates on gender and notions on civilisation.
Note: for the description of the vase-paintings, please see below.
Details: red earthenware painted with red, black and white Terra Sigillata; total hight 182 cm; made at the European Ceramic WorkCentre, Oisterwijk; 2019
On the vase-paintings
When you stand in front of the work, the central image is on the Krater and shows a Hermaphrodite chasing a hare. The Stamnos on top of this has two breast-forms, when on the back it has one. Other images on the front side include a running Gorgon and a frieze on the left Lekythos showing Sirens and Sphinxes and Gorgons. These images are chosen because they illustrate different forms of female representation. On the right Lekythos you see a frieze of Theseus slaying the Minotaur, symbolizing ‘civilisation’ overcoming ‘the wild’. The frieze on the Krater shows revelling Satyrs and Maenads, which embody savage energies and are mythical companions of the god Dionysus. The Kylix on top is a wine-drinking vessel and it is painted with prominent Dionysos-eyes. When this large cup is used, it forms a mask over the face of the drinker.
The backside of Homo Mensura shows a combination of normative imagery on women. The Kraters’ main motif on this side combines Achilles carrying the dead Amazon-queen Penthesilea with a domestic scene of woman chatting at a fountain; a bad and a good example of female behaviour. Myth had it that the all-female warrior tribe of the Amazons would cut of one breast for archery. To illustrate this theme the rear side of the Stamnos shows one breast-shape. The frieze on the Krater shows a Centauromachy; the Lapiths battle with the Centaurs. The Centaurs had drunk undiluted wine (civilised people would never drink wine without mixing it with water) and in a drunken frenzy raided a Greek wedding. The reversed Lekythoi “legs” show a Sphinx and a boar hunting-scene. The Kylix has a similar painting as the front of the sculpture.