The Caldron (1993)

The Caldron installation view Presentation House 1994
Installation view: Presentation House, North Vancouver, 1994. BW photo: the Artist.

General Description

The Caldron is an installation which fills a large room: Mixed media, welded steel structures, copper, brass, tinted silver prints, 852 wood-plaster-glass framed archival silver prints; chandeliers. Collection of the Artist.

1994 Release, edited 2013

This installation, The Caldron, evolved out of two previous works, ‘The heart is situated in the center of the chest because conditions are more temperate there.’ Part I (1988) and ‘The heart...’ Part II (1990).

‘The heart...’ Part I focuses on the structure of the heart through the use of anatomical interpretations. Hearts made from various materials such as stone, twigs, plaster and gold leaf, lentils, etc. allude to both obvious and ambiguous connotations. ‘The heart...’ Part II is composed of appropriated texts and images spanning many eras. Both works suggest multifaceted interpretations of the heart and are viewed as fragments similar to archaeological assemblages. The structures on which they rest are important to their formal museum style presentation.

The story of Brother Andrés heart is the focal point of this installation, The Caldron. This relic, kept at St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, was stolen in 1973. The robbers demanded a ransom which the church refused to pay. It was accidentally found years later and returned to the oratory. Brother André founded the Oratory in 1904 and though he was never ordained a priest, he is credited with performing many miracles. He died in 1937 and in 2010 was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI, thus becoming Canada’s first 21st century saint.

Aspects of the story of Brother Andrés heart encompass facets of human nature that are symbolically syncretic to the semantics of the heart and hence its central focus within this installation.

The walls are crowded with framed silverprints of visual and literary heart representations. The display stand with the story of Brother Andrés heart, the book containing the sources of the texts and images on view and the reading stands displaying the interior views of a human anatomical heart, all anticipate and draw the attention towards the central focus of the room – a high stand balancing a caldron (Chinese Ting.)

While pondering the means of representing the heart of Brother André the I Ching was consulted. Upon drawing the hexagram, ‘The Caldron’ (unchanging), Brother Andrés heart and thus the title for the installation came to light. The physical caldron provides a symbolic representation which extends beyond the emotional and physical limitations of the traditional symbol to a universal vision of the syncretic heart.

Exhibition History

1994 The Caldron, (solo) Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, British Columbia


"Artists with Their Work" Program. Art Gallery of Ontario. 1992.
Laurence, Robin. "Metaphorical Matters of the Heart." Weekend Sun [Vancouver] Oct 1 1994: 15.
Menard, Jacquelyn. "Disclosures Of The Heart." Arts Access [Vancouver] Sep⁄Oct 1994: 7.
Parallelogramme. [Toronto] Vol.20. No.2, 1994: 80,photo.


The Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.

The Caldron detail 2
The Caldron detail 3
The Caldron detail 4
The Caldron detail 5
The Caldron detail 6
The Caldron detail 7
Installation views: Presentation House, North Vancouver, 1994. Photos: the Artist.