More about Pair of Bowls – Gemini Basins, 2018
Carved from a single block of Egyptian porphyry, this impressive pair of bowls demonstrates a variation on the theme of twins. Artist Stephen Cox RA relates their creation to the splitting of a single cell and notes that the two parts share certain characteristics. “Principally, the common feature within the basins are their ‘lips’; the interface from the splitting of the ‘parent’ block.”
Cox has explored the theme of twins in a number of previous works. Analysing the relationship between two pieces of marble or granite that share an interface has provided inspiration for a number of figuratively carved pairs that share the features of their common origin.
Previous examples have been carved from Egyptian Hammamat Breccia and Egyptian alabaster, however porphyry’s evenness of colour and texture provided new inspiration and challenges. Having made a large porphyry basin, exhibited at TEFAF in 2017, Cox wished to consider this pure form in the ‘Gemini’ theme that has preoccupied him over many years of his illustrious career.
Imperial porphyry was preserved solely for Imperial Roman use. Its hardness and colour representative of imperial power. The Eastern Mountains of Egypt was its only source. Excavating material from the Roman quarries was made possible by the collaboration of the British Foreign Office and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for the commission of a sculpture by Stephen Cox for the new Cairo Opera House in 1989. Entitled ‘Song’ the two massive figures carved from Imperial porphyry and Roman diorite still stand outside the Opera House on Gezira Island.