Newborns and Swaddled consist of 20 figures each, grouped separately, attached to steel rods in concrete bases, and distributed so as to allow viewers to walk around them.
Sculpted from a paper composite, Newborns/Swaddled depicts, first, primal moments of contact between infants and the world, followed by a scene of order and tranquility. Together, they intimate a fundamental dilemma of human existence.
The grotesquely coloured Newborns presents babies in their most physically and emotionally raw state. Large, warped heads; wrinkled, not-yet-perfect skin; flailing arms and legs: these are not the cherubic darlings favored by the mass media, but rather terrified beings of an almost forbidding vulnerability, a nearly incomprehensible innocence. Newborns asks the viewer to confront human life at its most primitive – untamed, uncoddled, unclothed in the mollifying accoutrements of identity. Crossing from Newborns to Swaddled, the viewer experiences a striking change: the harsh colours have been noticeably softened, the thrashing limbs closely restrained, the anguished writhing subdued into peaceful congregation. But hanging over this tranquility is that inescapable tension between security and constraint.
In turning back toward Newborns, the viewer finds the effect redoubled with the corresponding and equally inescapable tension between freedom and exposure.