Not only; but also is a web-based artwork by Sarah Gillett that takes us inside the body of a woman lying in the gardens of Rockingham Castle at night. The shape and folds of this fluid architectural cavity are defined by the contours of the dress she is wearing, as though this is a skin for a ghostly presence uncertain of its bodily limits.
Trapped inside this space, our experience is internal. We can pay attention to how the floor flows over the grass underneath her, how the walls and ceiling stretch taut over her ribcage, how the material of this space bunches and creases under her weight, how our breath begins to sync with hers.
Inspired by the tradition of the Anatomical Venus, lifesize reclining beauties made of wax conceived as a way to teach anatomy in the 1780s, complete with removable organs, Not only; but also offers a different view of an interior world where memory and dreams reign. In place of organs are objects from Sarah’s collection of historical curios: a bronze Venus de Milo; a millefiori paperweight, a steel tuning fork for the note of A; a bronze sphinx…
These personal treasures have been transformed in scale and appearance through digital rendering. Scanned into 3D objects by artist Dave Farnham for reimagining online, artist Sam Mattacott then built the artwork in Mozilla Hubs, manipulating all elements to Sarah’s vision of a living reliquary or shrine, a place of fragments and resonance.
At the centre of Not only; but also is the outline of a meteorite stone circle, a recurring presence across Sarah’s work for In Steps of Sundew (see her sister Minecraft world Many hands make lightwork and a large drawing in the physical exhibition at Rockingham Castle on view from 11 July). Preferred Contact: James