Reflection of Flight
Perspex and Bronze with a light brown and golden patina
Height: 11" (28 cm)
Conceived 1975 and cast before the artist's death
Edition 1 of 12
The 20th century “renaissance man” Michael Ayrton highly admired and took advice from Henry Moore, who helped with the technical development of his sculpture. Moore showed Ayrton the properties of wax and proposed the use of bones, which interested Ayrton greatly.
He wrote, “The bone is so relevant to function, so absolute in shape, that it is in itself transcendental sculpture. A bone invites metamorphosis and recreates itself in the process. The skeleton of a bird can become bare trees of a mysterious landscape. Bone is the carapace of the vitals, the scaffold of action, the most lasting monument to man.”
Ayrton was also obsessed with myths, mirrors and mazes. He wrote, “To the spectator, another man’s maze does not look impenetrably intricate. It may resemble a box of reflections (as with Reflection of Flight), or a cage with invisible bars ...but to the maze maker himself his maze is an all-absorbing thing ... its geometry is ambiguous, its material, dense and solid at one moment, is illusory and transparent in the next so that its topology is obscure.”
In the present work, casts of a chicken breastbone were used to create the two beasts with wings featured in the sculpture. The winged beasts are confronting the male figure who is kneeling and facing upwards at them, his chest overextending and his left hand in a clenched fist. All three are boxed in, unable to approach one another, their reflections from the acrylic barriers mirroring back at them.