Where black is bright as dead. Where all things are another. Where the sea is the desert. Where decay is transformation. Where ice is bone is torso. Stone is the mottled skin of a guardian. The spine of a delicate temple. The organs of a ruin. The shadows of Yemen – the musical ribs of the earth. The vast insufferable curve of a wall.
Where external space leads into inner space. Where the spray of a fall is as dense as the mane of a horse. Where a man disintegrates into rainbow. The artist brings the oneness of these poles into focus. Where one looks through the solid. Where emptiness is charged, clothed in form.
A breath of humanity startles one into the twentieth century. A power line. A young tree. A bit of scaffolding. Restoration. Debris. A beat truck. A telegraph pole—a small, very distant electric crucifix. Eclipsed by the plane of the earth. The clouds of Cambodia. The mounds of Syria. A shaft. A structure. A column. An arch. Perpetuating memory. Fashioned by whim, wind or slave.
The artist attempts to be removed, and yet she is laid bare. Her work embodies heartache, prayer, the physics of the sun, the womb. Solitude. Unflinchingly and beautifully cruel. Unveiling the monument’s soul, so heightened in isolation, so exposed as art.
– Patti Smith, Preface to Monument