Corey McCorkle

Monument, 2013
La Station, centre intergénérationnel

Monument, titled to suggest all the grandeur of equine statuary, collects just over five minutes of extended, stationary shots of Zachary, a stately black horse, in situ at a Midwestern farm. While not initially apparent, it quickly becomes clear that the animal is blind; his dark, lustrous coat extends right over his eye sockets, an effect of a rare degenerative disease. The film comprises shots of the horse from different angles and distances. Halfway through this cinematic portrait, the horse is centered on screen, in profile, as if posing for some generic 19th-century equestrian painting.

In La peinture préhistorique: Lascaux ou la naissance de l’art (1955), Georges Bataille muses on the horses, bison, cows, deer, and other animals depicted in motion on the walls of the ancient caves in south-western France. In these Palaeolithic paintings, Bataille finds an ambivalent celebration of the animal—and a definition of the human rooted in art as a transgressive practice, an excessive pursuit of the useless.

The uneasiness prompted by the contemplative proximity to Zachary, the intimidating silence of the film and the darkness of the barn in which Zachary tramples around, summons a hallowed temple for an uncanny and sacred encounter. As the horse cannot return our gaze, Monument returns us to ourselves.

Monument, 2013, video, 5:33 minutes, courtesy of the artist and Maccarone, New York