Matthew Day Jackson, The Tomb, 2010
The Tomb, a large-scale work derived from the Tomb of Philippe Pot. Attributed to Antoine LeMoiturier, in the collection of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Tomb of Philippe Pot is considered one of the masterpieces of the Burgundian style of the late 15th century.
Jackson replaces the eight hooded monks who carry Pot’s effigy with astronauts that are rendered from scraps of wood and plastic. They are then compressed into a block and cut with a CNC (computer numerical control) process.
The astronauts shoulder a steel and glass box that holds a skeletal structure based upon Jackson’s own body. The hands and feet are cast from either Jackson’s own extremities or handles from tools. Other elements of the skeleton incorporate biomedical prototypes, various industrial materials, and found wood. Viewed through a one-way mirror, which allows the viewer to simultaneously see one’s own reflection and the effigy’s contents, Jackson’s skeleton provides both autobiographical reference and explores the interconnectivity of disparate forms and narratives.
The Tomb can also be seen as Jackson’s exploration of the “Horriful”—his belief that everything one does has the potential to evoke both beauty and horror at the same time. For Jackson, the allusion to death is not a “Memento Mori,” but a claim to “Carpe Diem.”