3 symbols (cards)

A set of cards was designed to descibe the system of symbols created for the 3 symbols painting. The cards link the 21 intermediate composite images used to create the photographic layer of the work with the abstract symbols created to represent birth, life and death.

3 symbols (cards face)

3 symbols (cards face)
c-type prints mounted on 24 cards

each card is 10 x 10 cm

2008, edition 10

3 symbols cards (back)

3 symbols cards (back)

We can capture a snapshot moment of impermanence in a photograph, and a painting is static, unchangeable… these statements are false.

In these cards the composite image is deconstructed and the symbol released. The cards can be touched, moved, re-arranged to create new personal meanings. A static image can be made fluid and the impermanence that is implied can become real. The cards are moved intuitively so that the states of life they describe become a symbol for the person touching them. These moments become memories and signs for future moments, with closed eyes, think of a question and re-arrange the cards. With open eyes the random clicks of an invisible universal clock sound because of unformed thoughts (less than a question) the cards help the question take form and the answer is like mist.

bandage (face)

bandage (face)

bandage (back)

bandage (back)

Forms appear in the mist. The uncovering of these forms happens naturally, the structure of the mechanism is a catalyst. In this way we realise that the real meaning and logic of the cards is not the one built in, but the one created by the person through the experience of using the cards.

21 images reincarnation
3 symbols birth growing forming
life healing joining
death decaying fragmenting
3 states birth
6 states birth + healing
birth + death
healing + birth
healing + death
death + birth
death + healing
6 transformations birth healing
birth death
healing birth
healing death
death birth
death healing
6 transformations (negative / reversed) healing birth
death birth
birth healing
healing death
death birth
death healing

symbols, states and transformations

image 3 states 6 states 6 transforms 6 transforms (negative)
reincarnation birth
grieve healing
bridge death
rwanda birth + healing
give birth + death
blessing healing + birth
radius healing + death
gesture death + birth
burma death + healing
restrict birth → healing
grave birth → death
before healing → birth
rarefied healing → death
grow death → birth
blindness death → healing
ruin birth → healing
guilt birth → death
bandage healing → birth
replenish healing → death
genocide death → birth
burn death → healing

card system

[negative transformations might use either a bar above the symbol or a mirror image of the symbol]


Dependent origination (Pratītyasamutpāda)

There is a constant flux of “Coming to be, and Ceasing to be” that is happening all the time. All phenomena are subject to this unending interaction. And since all phenomena are dependent on other phenomena, they are all transient and impermanent.


Absolute truth exists in the form of impermanence, suffering, non-self.