‘Apples at the Foot of a Tree’ is inspired by the work of Gustave Courbet. His portraits of apples were produced while incarcerated for his part in the Paris Commune, the uprising that took place in 1871, and ended with the massacre of 30,000 people by government troops. Many of the apples captured in Gustave’s paintings were beginning to decay, it is thought that they act as a metaphor for his fallen Communards.
Darke’s re-imagining of these strange fruits includes the transcription of the last, rhetorical proclamation published by the Commune. Darke carves the words they summoned in their last breath into the apples at the foot of his tree. The hoard of fallen apples in Darke’s piece suggest that they are not an autumnal crop, instead an unnatural and premature harvest, reminiscent of the massacre, a waste that will soon feed the tree at whose roots they have fallen.
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Artwork available to purchase from the Engine Room Gallery from the 5th of September
The Engine Room Gallery
414 Newtownards Road