艾莉森威尔丁的雕塑 Melancholia in the Fellows’ Garden of Jesus College is emblematic of her artistic practice and its mode of precisely determined elusiveness and mystery. In the medieval and renaissance theory of bodily humours, melancholy is the humour associated with scholarship, an appropriate choice of subject matter for a sculpture located in a college garden. But the primary association in this instance is more likely to be with Freud’s concept of melancholia as a critical stage in the process of mourning. Melancholia is akin to a state of suspense in which the subject is unable to relinquish their hold on the object of loss, so that mourning remains incomplete. Wilding’s choice of imagery, form and colour supports such a hypothesis. She has affixed a series of ceramic blooms on a cement base – the blooms are naturalistic in form but ashen or funereal in colour. The cement base is given the form of a geometrically precise section of a perfect sphere. The sculpture as a whole thus hesitates between naturalistic representation and formal abstraction; in art-historical terms it hovers in an unresolved state between realism and conceptualism.
十几年后 Melancholia 安装在一棵巨大的东方梧桐树的树枝下，雕塑的圆形形状与树叶的阴影相呼应，一个大树枝从树上脱落，撞到了地上。艾莉森拿走了一些木头作为另一个雕塑的基础， Tooth and Claw, which retains the form of a section of tree branch. The title’s allusion to Tennyson’s epitome of Darwin’s evolutionary imperative (translating the survival of the fittest into ‘nature red in tooth and claw’) is reinforced by the apposition of a red acrylic sphere to the interior of the branch, making it reminiscent of flesh. The tree’s own story of survival began with the transplanting of a seed from the site of the Battle of Thermopylae in Greece, during which the 300 Spartans lost their lives but outlasted their opponents in history and legend. Wilding’s choice of materials (wood, acrylic, language) underlines the cultural rather than the natural basis for evolutionary struggle, played out in a theatrum mundi 其中艺术介入意义冲突。作品集的集体名称 Aftermaths 似乎提出艺术正是为了总结其意义而正确地超越了生活经验。雕塑是生命气息的残余，他们应该为自己的形式付出代价。在某些方面，所有这些作品都像是一种生活尚未完全消失的忧郁遗物。