I made the sculptures Invictus I & II after having heard about ‘The Invictus Games’, an international Paralympic-style event which uses ‘the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women’. I found these people extremely inspiring.
‘Invictus’ is Latin for unconquerable, invincible, undefeated. It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury. It is also the title of a much quoted poem by English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) which I later looked up. Henley wrote this poem as a result of one of his legs requiring amputation (due to complications arising from tuberculosis) He would have lost both legs if it wasn’t for his own intervention (enlisting a different surgeon) and so his poem (to me – mainly) describes the importance of steering one’s own fate.
I guess I should have made a person, but I find the image of the war horse a powerful one, the animal itself is intensely beautiful, its sort of flawless essence perfect for an attempt to illustrate the ‘beauty of imperfections’. I wanted to create a sculpture of a being literally ‘in bits’, wounded and broken, but put back together – and have it emanate power, elegance and determination.
Gunvor Anhøj 2018