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Something Burning High Up in the Air  in Art Beyond by the Schneider Museum of Art installed at the Gambrell Gallery Annex in Ashland, OR

The above image was taken on the day of installation, a control burn happening to be taking place in the hills behind the Pony.

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Still from Pony in a Field/Lesbian Horsey Race which played inside a spaceship in Chella's June 2023 show Lesbian Space Commune

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"A hundred and thirty seven years ago the horse depicted in these sculptures lived, breathed, and was conscious. Now, I invite you to cuddle with his ghost.  

 

Emile Zola’s 1885 novel Germinal is set in a coal-mining town at the end of the 19th century. Zola describes the brutal oppression of workers in this industry as they struggle for a better quality of life. 

In the mine lives Bataille, a pit pony (a horse brought below ground when it was a foal to work pulling carts in a mine, never to see daylight again). 

 

“Now, with advancing years, his cat-like eyes sometimes took on a far-away wistful look.  Perhaps in his misty dreams he could dimly see the mill near Marchiennes where he was born, by the banks of the Scarpe amidst broad, wind-swept meadows.  Something used to burn high up in the air, a sort of huge lamp, but his animal memory could not quite recollect what it was like.  And there he stood shakily on his old legs, vainly trying to remember the sun.” (Zola, 68)

 

Today, on the top floor of an abandoned dormitory, Bataille rests.  Each morning, the sun rises in the window above his head and bathes him in light.

Across town, Bataille rests with his body on the earth as flowers and grass bury him in smells, soil, and life."

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Forklift installation shot

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