Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Fishy #3: Styxfish

For the last month I've been a bit of a fixture at the St George's Market fish stalls, searching for interesting fish and getting the stallholders to help me pick out the prettiest ones. I got some great cooking advice too, and, though I started out feeling quite squeamish about the whole thing, eventually I settled into a pattern of using the fish as models in the morning and making a delicious dinner in the evening. John Dory was my best discovery - it's quite a fearsome-looking creature, but fabulous pan-fried with butter, lemon and white wine.

But I'm not really here to dispense cooking advice: I wanted to show you a few of my favourite images as I finish this project. I know they're weird and maybe even a bit disturbing, but I think that they're beautiful too. Small fish have a jewel-like quality that's lovely to look at.

I was discussing the project with a goldsmith friend, who talked about the practice many cultures have of placing a coin over the eyes of a dead person, to "pay the ferryman", originally Charon, carrying the souls of the dead across the river Styx, in Greek mythology. The idea struck me that these were the fish of the Styx, paying their way to the other side with abandoned buttons from the river, fallen from the clothing of the other travellers. Styxfish....

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