Rolling Stone (Happy Sisyphus) , 2017
Vintage Pioneer turntable, sandpaper, ceramics clay

Installation view: Stichting Kaus Australis, Rotterdam
Photo: Willem Mes

“Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. at is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.” – Milan Kundera, e Unbearable Lightness of Being

On the other hand it reminds me of the Greek myth : Sisyphus, who had been punished by the gods to ceaselessly roll a rock to the top of a mountain every single day, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. As for this myth, one sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone, to roll it and push it up a slope a hundred times over, but I imagine Sisyphus as the “happiest” man on earth, associating him with the ideology by Milan Kundera. Either he might have discovered the meaning of life within the endless repetition that he truly enjoyed, or he has already surpassed and was superior to his fate. He was definitely conscious of his “suffering”, but with his hatred of death or rebel, and his passion for life, he made his own choice of accepting the mundane repetition.

I also imagine that his rock would have been slowly abraded and eventually consumed completely by the repetitive frictional force, defeating the saying of a never-ending torture. e stone piece in my work is therefore a visual representation of my interpretation and imagination towards the concept of time and meaning of life.

©Serene Hui 2023