Distance Over Time: Publishing as a creative practice and communicating ideas through various formats.

Actaeon’s Silent Moment - Prelude to a Deadly Metamorphosis

Alexander Skorobogatov

Year - 2015
Edition - 25 / 25
Street date- September 11th 2015
Details- Hand bound hardcover pull-apart box with wooden viewing holes
30 individual standing RISO printed figures. Hand painted accordion folded base.
Hand printed RISO prints inlayed in box ends. Wrapped artwork is presented in a screen printed and embossed hand made packaging. Each container is hand signed by the artist. 2 Page RISO printed insert included.
Format - 25 x 19 x 8 cm (closed)
25 x19 x 100cm (opened).
Printed and bound in Berlin, Germany.
Price- € 360,00

Actaeon’s Silent Moment - Prelude to a Deadly Metamorphosis (2015) by Alexander Skorobogatov is a diegesis (the plot and its setting) in the form of an artist book. Playing with voyeurism and nature, Skorobogatov’s edition offers a literal glimpse into the state of the in-between.

When the two parts of the box-shaped artist book are pulled apart, a scene from the Greco-Roman myth Actaeon and Diana is revealed. Unlike the many artistic interpretations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses that present an outside view of a given event, here we witness the scene from the inside, from Actaeon’s own point of view at the moment he sees Diana bathing in a lagoon. The focus Skorobogatov chose here is on the erotic sensation Acteaon would have experienced before being seen, turned into a stag, then torn apart by his own hunting dogs. In other words, the viewer is experiencing the place and time of Acteaon's immanent transformation. In the recreation of this moment, Skorobogatov explores the idea - the sensation - of seeing a nude goddess bathing amongst earthly flora and fauna: the communion of fantasy and nature.

Transformation is the key to this piece. Mirroring Actaeon's transformation into a stag, the artist book changes from what appears to be a simple box with holes into a vivacious scene of 28 standing figures of plants, flowers and animals. Each box side is bookended by a portrait of Diana covered in tattoos and with her relaxed gaze turned towards the sky. Skorobogatov plays with the theme of the hunter and the hunted: Actaeon, the hunter stumbling upon a bathing goddess in the forest, becomes vulnerable, then turns into the hunted himself. The viewer, here, hunts with his or her eyes through the voyeuristic viewing holes in the walls of the box. Skorobogatov’s flora and fauna carry in themselves the tension between art and nature; his plants and flowers are unearthly, as if they could only exist in a mythical place. In Actaeon’s Silent Moment, it is a mythical place that can be visited by opening a box.

Read our interview with Alexander and learn about his creative process.