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Sunday, 10 February 2013


You approach a volcanic pile of wood assembled for the night’s fire works. A work of fire.

The pyre is lit. The blaze begins; ravenously licking, crackling, snapping. 

As the initial energy is spent, you notice it: a lightless figure in the midst of the light. A black hole within the sun. Its pull is magnetic; gravitational. The shadow of a man, the darkness that fuels the fire. Charred, but not yet consumed. A human sacrifice, slowly smouldering.

For weeks, neither you nor the others who were there can think of anything else. Singed, none of you can make anything that does not contain fire. This fire.

In May 2007, visual artist Peter von Tiesenhausen hosted the artists and
mentors of Prairie North Creative Residency at his home in
Demmit, Alberta. After dinner and a tour of his land, on which
much of his most important work was completed and remains,
he lit a bonfire. Out of the fire emerged a figure, in the
tradition of his Watchers series. A self-portrait, burning
as if in effigy. Or perhaps rising from the flames like a phoenix.
Photos by Wendy Stefansson.

To see more of Peter von Tiesenhausen's work, go to Or click on any of the following links to posts on this blog: burning man; a book of days; or approaches.

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