Charlotte Mayer's 'The Thornflower' is an attempt in sculptural form to reconcile two diametrically opposed elements. The thorns, sharp and cruel, are cut in stainless steel. The flowers, modelled in wax and cast in bronze, are soft and embracing. The sculpture grows from a circular base that speaks of their fundamental unity.
Each one of us has at some time experienced the thorns of personal pain in our life and each one of us has also, however fleeting the experience may have been, felt the joy of flowers touch our heart. Duality is in the nature of our life on earth.
"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so", said Shakespeare in 'Hamlet', Act 2, Scene 2. It is this 'thinking so' that seems to be at the root of our personal and global pain. Prejudice, racial and religious intolerance, envy, resentment, hatred and violence all spring from it. These are the thorns that pierce us. But when we open our heart and see all others as ourselves, the flowers begin to bloom, joy enters our life and there is a chance that reconciliation and peace can become an everyday reality.
'The Thornflower' sculpture began in 2000 as a personal memorial to my grandmother who perished in the Nazi Holocaust. The early versions of the present sculpture focused on the piercing of the flowers by thorns. They were expressions of duality. Over the next five years as I developed the sculpture, I began to focus on uniting both elements - a reconciliation. The resulting sculpture is the outcome of a different way of looking at, and resolving, conflict.
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