Janus Head

2003
Cast iron, Corten steel
330 x 318 x 318 cm
Edition of 4

A continuation of Burke’s preoccupation with humanity, Janus Head is an investigation of the space occupied by the human form. Made from poured steel, Janus Head is imposing and tough, but with a delicately patterned finish. Burke has employed his hallmark engineering skills and fascination with mass–produced industrial materials into the fabrication process. After many years of using moulds conventionally as negatives to be filled with materials, Burke became interested in the moulds themselves and the curious relationship between the outside and inside of a mould. Burke thus produced two identical casts, which he then placed together to allow one to view both outside and inside at the same time. Made from a fibreglass mould, Janus Head is packed in sand and filled with molten iron. Burke then hand finished this in order to fill in the residual gaps. The juxtaposition of two faces looking in opposing directions led the artist to title the work Janus Head after the Roman god Janus; the god of beginnings and endings and thus of transitions and time. In effect Janus has one face looking into the future and one to the past. Janus features heavily in ancient Roman architecture, typically around doorways and entrances, and is considered one of the most important gods in the Roman pantheon.

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About The Artist

The human form is often central to Peter Burke’s sculpture, as with Antony Gormley, who began working at a similar time, Burke often uses casts of a model to express a sense of universality in his sculpture. Working in steel and iron, using industrial processes, Burke’s engineering background has strongly informed his working practice. His work often reflects mankind’s relationship with mass–production and standardisation through a rhythm and repetition of materials.

Peter Burke

Born: 1944

Other Artworks by Peter Burke at CASS

1996

Host

The work Host is a horizontal work composed of a number of human scale vertical sculptures that follow the undulations o…

2004

Assembly

Embedded in all of us is the ability to recognise and read the human figure from a minimal amount of visual information.…

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