Of bunnies and men: secret sea-side rituals

Jessica Backus
May 9, 2013 4:32PM

This sculpture was initially presented a few feet away from the sea in Yokohama, Japan as part of a site-specific performance. The artist appeared, painted head to toe in white and wearing a loin wrapping, to lead several boys in a procession. They carried the wooden sculpture to the seafront, where it was placed atop its pedestal, and the artist climbed onto the matching pedestal. One by one, the boys passed between his 2/3rd-sized, bunny-eared and pearl covered alter ego to toss a pearl into the sea.  

Perhaps the most conspicuous medium in this work are 65,000 faux pearl and faux pearl fragments, each hand applied to his body to create a resplendent surface with an animalistic scaliness. And then, never one to give everything away at once, Koh drapes a translucent cloth over the sculpture.

Edgar Allen Poe has a story titled “Descent into the Maelstrom,” in which a man, travelling with his brothers at sea, encounters a vortex. One brother is pulled into the waves, the other is driven mad, and the young protagonist becomes an old man overnight. Akin to plunging to the depths of a crevasse of time, this work forays into self-eternalization – dressed up, however, in bedazzling thanatos.

Jessica Backus