In her exhibition at Mai 36 Galerie entitled ‘Clavis’ Rita McBride presents a series of cast bronze sculptures inspired by the shapes and symbolism of ancient Roman Keys.
The Romans built the first metal locks and forged the first bronze keys. Their religious beliefs encompassed everything. They had gods to help and support every task. The gates, locks and keys of Rome were protected by the two-faced god Janus. For the Romans Janus was the God of beginnings, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings. He presided over the beginning and ending of conflicts, over war and peace. His two faces meant that he watched entrances as well as exits, and saw into the internal as well as the external world, left and right, above and below, before and after, for and against.
McBride’s Sculptures embody this powerful two-sided experience. They are works about transitions, journeys and exchange. Both physically and magically, McBride’s ‘Clavis’ seem to both unlock and lock things at the same time. Like being on both sides of an argument simultaneously. We turn the key in the lock one way to deprive someone of their liberty and turn it the other way to set them free. McBride’s sculptures are investigations into the duality that is at the core of every proposition, of every ethical and aesthetic problem.