The tradition of animal sacrifice as it relates to religious symbolism has long since informed Ed Fraga’s work. He is interested in the reading and interpretation of artifacts and archaeological discoveries linked to the sacred and notions of ownership. His installation, Agnus Dei –Stage One: Extispicy, addresses the practice of using anomalies in animal entrails to predict or divine future events (common in Mesopotamia and then later in ancient Rome). In the center of a 9 x 17 foot room, a display case made of wood and glass houses the bones of a sheep.The bones are laid on sewn patches of wool. At the far end of the case, a funnel-like shape made of clay and covered in gold leaf emerges from below. On the floor next to the vessel, a white porcelain bowl rests. Extruding from the same vessel is a thin red string forming a pile of wool. Acts of ritual, alchemy and the natural world are woven together in this work to pose questions.
Agnus Dei (detail), 2011
sheep skull, clay mold, gold leaf
37 x 73 x 38 in.