In classical art schools, the features of the Michelangelo’s David are still used as the reference to teach the basics of portraiture, before the students are encouraged to dive into the discrepancies between living bodies. For this purpose, replica’s of David’s nose, ears, lips and eyes are often hung on the studio wall. I regularly encounter them as a model.

These sensory fragments do not bear much resemblance to the heroic body exhibited at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. When standing still as a statue, it appears to me that I face the scattered senses of the room itself (and my own skin, eyes, lips, ears and nose seem to open other sensory canals through which the place could perceive itself).

Within these sensory symbols, the nose of David draws most of my attention - perhaps because its architectural character merges best with the place, as a sort of ornament, making its animateness more quiet than the other casts.

After having looked at this nose for hours, I started to imagine that I could breathe through it, and that the nose could make a sound, becoming a flute, or a clay whistle. I imagined the sound of such an instrument filling up the surrounding air, synaesthetically uniting the scattered senses. This is how I made this series of nose whistles: to give a sense of the aliveness of a place I am part of.

Édouard Lantéri, Modelling, A Guide for Teachers and Students, book, 1904

Sketchbook, fineliner on paper, 2020

Neusfluit (sketch for a breathing apparatus), mechanical pencil, fineliner and choarcoal on paper, 2020 

Supernumerary Nose 1, air-drying clay and eggs, 2021 

Breathing with David, performance without public, 2020

Studio situation with scattered senses, stereoscope (detail), 2021