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"Snake Drawing" 2011-12

Wall text

Wall text

Susan Jacobs
Born 1977, Gadigal Country/Sydney, NSW.

Lives and works in London, United Kingdom.

Pronouns: she/her.

 

"Snake Drawing" 2011-12

 

bronze, single-channel HD video, silent

7:18 minutes

Collection of The University of Queensland, purchased 2012. 

 

Consisting of a silent video work and an accompanying bronze sculpture, Susan Jacobs’s Snake Drawing immortalises the ephemeral markings of reptilian bodies in sand, speaking to histories of artistic tradition and material theory. Chance and reciprocity become the ultimate composers of the final artwork, highlighting the power of material memory and cross–species relations. 

 

In the video, only the hands and torso of the artist are visible as she gently guides an Olive Python and a Black-Headed Python over beds of sand. The sand, mixed with a silicone catalyst, meets the weight of each python and moulds beneath their forms, bearing evidence of their presence. These impressions can be read as signatures or stories of the bodies that made them; the sand, as a malleable canvas, keeps these movements, holding their form so that they may be cast in bronze. This partnership between human, python, and sand births a memoir of material power—existing through both video and metal—preserving the lasting impressions of spontaneous encounters and fleeting decisions. 

 

Snake Drawing was made by Jacobs for Parallel Collisions, the 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, responding to works held in the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection. The works of interest to Jacobs were paintings, drawings, and sculptures featuring feminine bodies alongside serpents, which were usually made by male artists. Jacobs’s work revisits this visual history, shifting the dynamic between artist, subject, and material, fostering a reciprocal spatial practice. Here, artist, serpent, and material each perform as active geological agents, changing the shape of the mineral ground that they draw upon together. 
 

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