Ars Antica constitutes Ian Charles Lepine's journey through an aesthetics of fragmentation, ruin, and loss.
The beings depicted in this collection are timeless, or rather out of time. Classical influence is constantly overturned and challenged to produce a new classicism, rebellious and yet traditional, an impossibility in the days of Classical Antiquity: the classicism of modernity.
Author: Ian Charles Lepine
Technique: Ceramic clay sculpture, painted with pigments and graphite
Aeneas was a prince that upon the burning of the holy citadel of Troy, made his way to Carthage, where he fell in love with Queen Dido. After spending a stolen season in her arms, the gods make their will known and tell him he is to leave behind Carthage to become the founder of Rome.
Upon his descent into hell, Aeneas encounters Dido, who has killed herself for love and betrayal. Her shadow barely looks at him, her fury is too strong. It is upon this scene that Vergil puts into his mouth words of such power that often leave me breathless: Per sidera iuro, invitus, regina, tuo de litore cessi’: By the stars I swear, oh queen, that unwilling I left your shores.’
I have felt keenly the contradiction of Aeneas’ choice in my own life.
How our fate forces us to leave some people behind, to chase after a dream, an idea, an ideal. My Aeneas is torn between his love for Dido, and his duty as the father of Rome, his martial helmet is broken and the man seeks to overcome his duty, all in vain. Fate will always have its say.
Clarity will come; perhaps it’s here
Upon this very fragment of the twilight;
Upon these musings now must fall the night.
Continues still the path through which I steer.
I must let be, and trust that life will on,
Let go of the past, for it let go of me,
And staring infinite upon the sea
I’ll find the strength my heart will always own.
One day perhaps an answer there shall be,
To justify these hours of anxious sorrow.
My only task is then to bear the morrow—
To bear, indeed, to morrow, silently.
Know queen, unwilling did I leave this shore
Compelled by gods not knowing then wherefore.
–7 August MMXXIII
Brindisi, last resting place of the poet Vergil