Ione Rucquoi

© Ione Rucquoi, 'Anna and Magnus', 2015,

Ione Rucquoi (UK, Devon)
Anna and Magnus (2015)
Placenta blood and gold leaf


My current blood prints are related to works I started in 2010, shortly after the birth of my first child. They are also a natural progression from my last big project Sanctae, a large-scale installation of 28 larger than life female nudes reminiscent of Catholic prayer cards, each adorned with a gold leaf halo.

In this new work I wanted to print directly onto paper using the body’s only impermanent organ – the placenta. Its role in pregnancy is to support and unite, it is fundamental to our existence and yet many people may be repelled by its bloody and visceral nature. By incorporating this material into my faceless portraits I translate the experience of the maternal bond into a language of its own. This use of blood challenges perceptions of it as a bodily fluid we associate with disease and trauma.

The intricate gold work on the halos or doilies and handmade rag paper juxtaposed with the blood and the circular gilded frames are intended to give the works a quality of ‘religious relic’. Here the doily represents the domestic and display. Reference is made to women in the church, when it existed in the domestic realm and was run by women in the home. The gold halo elevates the prints and placenta/blood with a sense of divinity and holiness.

The marriage of dualities has long been a theme in my work. In our increasingly obsessed pursuit of perfection we move further away from the visceral and real.

This image is part of a larger ongoing body of work that will include other mixed media pieces, variations on the theme and performance.