Jim Carter

It was in Kells Girley bog in Co. Meath that I saw him, the bogman and his god. Maker of visions, wodwo, other; Christ, maker of idols, maker of crosses. I saw him and I was taking on a coat of earth and water.

He looked out from beasts, from birch that face of a man and I dreamt his liminality, of protrusions, wood, shrapnel. I would be an artist-shaman, trying to find ways into the disowned and unconscious aspects of the self, the fundamental elements of human experience that dogged him out of sleep. To dismantle the constructs of society and unveil the earth, the hidden, the lost - this was the cause and the oath. The bogman served as material evidence that could help articulate loss, could help reclaim the past and the efficacy of ancestral beliefs.

In those days I had to reinvent my trials and sufferings and so bring a message back from the other side of experience. All there was inverted but I was master nonetheless among primal symbols, shapeshifter of affliction, of disorder but also its means to a wordless revival. I wanted more than an image, a physical payoff, to exist in the space between the legitimate and illegitimate, in proximity with the black earth; a body of work locating itself in the elemental spaces in an attempt to challenge perceptions of place and time. But the material body it ruptures time and space.

I say again that there were people out in the fen, waist high in the white water, pale and frozen as the grasses were. It was the torso of winter and those brittle bodies like mine were encumbered by its light; and your light, crossing the boundaries of the flesh, came to meet the earth where all things become at last autobiography.