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Soap (lard, lye, rose)


Screenshot 2023-05-22 at 19.56.21.png

This piece was created over the course of eight months. It is a portrait of a boy I got to know while working at school. The portrait was made entirely from memory, in a process of searching the mind, then returning, observing, writing down details in the mind, and returning to sculpture again. It had many renditions, from painting, drawing, numerous clay sculptures and into this soap cast.

Soap sculpture is a traditional technique in prisons. I encountered it often while visiting Koestler exhibitions at Southbank Centre. 

Is life a prison of circumstances, a simple course of cause and effect? Or is there an unknown dimension to the person, where freedom, beauty, even pain, are untouched?

For me an aspect of this work points to remembering, remembering this person's suffering. Not through information, news, reports, but through the detail of his face.


It is in equal measure a wish sent his way, a wish for peace. 

photography by Dani Tagen

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