Phyllis and Aristotle, 2021

Hand-built and glazed porcelain

Height 37cm (14 5/8")
Width 40cm (15 3/4")
Depth 21cm (8 1/4")

EPR14

Price on request

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More about Phyllis and Aristotle, 2021

"Phyllis & Aristotle is based on the medieval legend in which these two characters play a game of seduction and humiliation. I originally saw a wood carving of Phyllis riding Aristotle on a gothic misericord at the National Museum of sculpture in Valladolid. This image stayed in my mind for many years until I found the right opportunity in which to translate the story.

"The subject can be found represented on numerous occasions throughout European art history in carvings, prints and paintings, with Lucas Cranach the Elder's painting of 1530, as one of the finest examples."

The Legend:

"Alexander the Great, Aristotle’s pupil, fell in love with a young woman named Phyllis. Aristotle, concerned that Phyllis was distracting Alexander from his kingly duties, cautioned him and advised him to spend less time with his love. Hurt, Phyllis decided to take her revenge. The next morning, she told Alexander to look out for her from the palace roof. She let down her hair, hiked up her skirts, and ran barefoot through the morning dew in the garden outside the window of Aristotle’s study. The philosopher looked up from his books to see a vision of beauty. Enchanted, he called her to him and begged her to be his.

“Certainly—on one condition,” Phyllis told the philosopher, and demanded that he put on saddle and bridle and give her a ride through the garden. Alexander, up on the battlements, was shocked to see his dignified old tutor with a bit in his mouth, while Phyllis brandished a whip over his back."

"My series EAST MEETS WEST deals with the encounter of two cultures, China and America, represented by either Guanyin or the Chinese Guardian Lion and Mickey Mouse respectively. This piece borrows the subject and name from the medieval legend to narrate a tale of seduction and humiliation. Mickey, with an already transformed head, has been seduced by Guanyin's under one condition, to put on a bridle and give her a ride.

In this work there are three iconographies juxtaposed and completely decontextualised, giving the old legend a new and contemporary narrative. Phyllis & Aristotle is a metaphor about China and America's present history and relationship. Their differences, mutual needs, admiration and condemnations."

Enrique Perezalba Red, 2022

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