SKELETON / SELF-PORTRAIT 22
material: silver 935
dimensions: 15 x 22 x 17 cm
I, Caspar Berger of Amsterdam, copied my skull thus in immortal silver at the age of forty-seven years.
While it is generally a mirror that provides the reflection for a self-portrait, in the project Skeleton it is the likeness produced by a CT scanner and 3D printer. Using this technique a precise copy of my own skeleton has been created, an image that produces in me a state of hyper-self-awareness.
The concept for Skeleton/Self-portrait 22, a silver cast of my own skull, was prompted by a 17th century skull relic at Moissac Abbey, which forms an important element in the veneration of the abbey’s patron saint. Arranged with precision over the skull’s surface are areas of engraved decoration and writing.
In contrast to the Moissac skull, in Skeleton/Self-portrait 22 I reveal what normally only becomes visible after death. A physically tangible version of this highly charged image not only presents an emotional challenge but also produces a powerful awareness of who we are and what the human body is.
One’s own body is the only thing one generates entirely under one’s own strength, once its very first cell division has been set in motion by those who conceived it. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle everything in nature that is in motion must be moved by something else. At the source of this process is an entity he calls the ‘unmoved mover’.
In Skeleton/Self-portrait 22, it is movement that is venerated: the movement set in motion by those who conceived me, the movement present in the strength of one’s own body and the movement of life itself. It is this self-aware moment in time that in Skeleton/Self-portrait 22 is venerated in immortal silver.