In this photo, I've got the newest and oldest works that I've done using frozen liquid silicone. Originally, I froze my sculptures in air. However, this caused the water to evaporate from the object, effectively freeze-drying it and reducing it to a pile of dust. This technique is very interesting, and I have used it in other pieces that have life cycles, but for the sculptures that I want to last, I found that the solution was to freeze things in silicone oil, which remains liquid at 50 degrees centigrade and is chemically nonreactive. It is the same material used in breast implants, and to me that gives the tanks of silicone a kind of cybernetic-maternal quality.
The jar in my hand contains the first frozen flower I ever made, an iris, frozen in 1995. I went on to do a series of frozen-flower sculptures, including a whole garden for the Prada Foundation in Milan. All of these pieces live on a narrow ledge. If any
of the numerous technical needs are not met, the sculptures sort of self-destruct. They are a bit like us, really. The frozen flowers appear fresh forever— as long as they are plugged in. It's a dependent eternity.
The other sculpture is Lucas 2001. Last year I had a son. In the days after his birth, I made a series of clay portraits of his head until I got one right. It was a way of physically getting to know him. When he was born, I kept his placenta. This sculpture is a cast of that clay head in the placenta, kept frozen at 18 degrees centigrade, again in silicone. It's like a baby on life-support. It's about the emergence of his identity. And, to me, it's also a flower sculpture. My girlfriend says this is the only image of a new- born that brings back the rawness and amazement of the real thing. But then, she would say that— it's her son.