‘Sortie’ is Watsons beautiful and disturbing large scale video work, a work that resembles both clinical-analysis, video documentation and luscious, flesh-torture porn.
The viewer is greeted with the organically rounded lush, red pyramid, spot lit against a background of darkness, theatrically centre-stage, an inanimate actor delivering a silent monologue. After a moment we become aware that this object before us is a strawberry, vibrant and swollen, a ripe fertile goddess.
Cue the horror: a pair of surgical grade tweezers enters stage left, guided by an unseen operator, begins to slowly peck away at a seed. The neutering of just one of so many other seeds appears as random cruelty without reason or justification. Eventually, the unknown antagonist is successful; the seed is plucked from the flesh and withdraws into the darkness. Violence magnified.
The tweezers return under the still, emotionless eye of the video camera, ready to strike again. The action is repeated: the live abortion of one of the possible hundreds, or thousands of tiny cocooned life-forms (seeds), clinging and imbedded to the parental, defenceless life support system, shot in high definition.
One by one, meticulously, slowly, patiently, the off screen perpetrator assaults the fruit until it has no possible chance of it progeny. With the seeds removed, it’s at this point that the real horror begins. The maligned metal pincers return, with the task of seed removal accomplished, they mechanically turn on the strawberry itself, tearing apart flesh and form, masticating what is solid and releasing, the berrys thick, viscous, oozing innards.
Sortie is a crime against nature on the tiniest scale, against one the of smallest most defenceless victims, but every violent detail is amplified. Claire Anna Watson makes Dario Argento wish that he was a greengrocer.