When Odysseus instructed his crew to lash him to the mast of their ship, he was preparing himself to hear the sirens’ song, ‘the song of the universe’. Their sweet singing, claims of omniscience and power to calm the waters, unfailingly lured sailors off course to their destruction. Odysseus plugged his crew’s ears with beeswax, so that he alone could savour the seductive laments of the sirens and experience a mystical encounter with the sublime.
Dreams and the sea are the closest we come to other worlds, and the solitary sea-stacks in David Parker’s pictures, or sirens as they appear to him, stand like guardians on the threshold of both worlds. For Parker the sirens’ song is a call to contemplation, not action, and these images chart his fascinated encounters with an enchanted world of forgotten archetypes. His pictures are intended, siren-like, to lure the viewer into a mysterious abstract world, both concrete and ineffable.
Ultimately the sirens’ song is the song of art, which charms us into the ego-diminishing state of aesthetic enchantment, perhaps the goal and consolation of all art.
‘Sirens’ has been widely exhibited in Europe and the USA:
Many images from this series were published were published in 'Myth and Landscape' in 2014 by Kehrer. Essays by Marina Warner and Ibrahim al-Koni.