My first visit to a cow slaughterhouse was near Ho Chi Minh City a few years ago. The mix of beauty and violence that I witnessed was fascinating. What impressed me was the mental focus of the butcher, who is able to skilfully manoeuvre a knife against an animal a few times bigger than himself. Only blood is left as a mark of the killing. Day after day, every corner of the slaughterhouse is soaked by layers of blood. Compiling one over the other those layers tell stories of life and death, of power and agony – stories that go back to time immemorial, as it does the use of blood for drawing purposes. From the time of Palaeolithic cave carvings to the XVII century England, where “Oxblood” is used to this day to dye yarns and to make red and burgundy colour powders.
The Slaughterhouse series, drawn with real cow blood taken from the slaughterhouse, depicts key moments in the butchery profession, as I try to capture the psyche of the cow and the butcher suspended between life. and death. To me, this is a powerful reminder of what power can do against a host of defenceless creatures.
Country of Origin: Vietnam
Medium: Cow Blood, Salt, Alum, Pencil, Acrylic Glue on Canvas