Secretors (1993 – )
Lead crystal, manifestation juice
Various dimensions: generally around 60cm x 10cm x 7cm each
With the sculptural installation series Secretors Chodzko explored the experience, mediated by literary and cinematic narratives, of the realisation of something emerging into public space that is both terrifying and beautiful. Secretors are particularly based on moments within the horror genre where a building is seen to leak blood, having become not just an architecture visited or inhabited by bodies but a body itself, excessive and transforming.
As a metaphor for the experience of the familiar and everyday becoming suddenly or insidiously undermined, ruptured by the intrusion of other realities Secretors are installed around a building, embedding them into the walls or ceilings, so that they appear as small eruptions of blood oozing from wounds: what we knew seems unstable and fluid, demanding that we acknowledge change perceiving a shift in our position within a system.
Perceiving this moment of transition, between solid architecture and liquid, as suspended in time, Chodzko gave titles to individual Secretors as speeds of 1000’s of km/hr. If we are able to see them as still, then, both we and they must be frozen in time, as a freeze frame, held, but just about to return to temporal normality again. These titles also, in their specificity, attempt to contain, understand and catalogue these forms. As forms they resemble the initial oozing of blood from a pin prick on skin, and are made from a clear lead crystal vessel, blown and shaped by breath and gravity, then filled with dark red fluid (‘manifestation juice’). For Chodzko the Secretors are a form of kit. A prop. Something you add to a building, a home or a large institution, as a reminder of constant transformation, instability and the unknown. In this way, as an art object that ‘does something’ – to be utilised in order to facilitate visual perception – they have a similar role to Chodzko’s Mask Filters, M-path, Props. For memorising the gravity of mime objects, Ghost or Deep Above.
Secretors often seem barely perceptible, noticed from looking awry, only glimpsed whilst looking at something else, away from the normal locations of artworks in a gallery space. In the exhibition space they seem to emerge from the periphery, cracks and odd joins in the architecture, places within the gallery that would normally be overlooked. They are allude to the experience of half-seeing, transformation and suspension. They suggest an attention into particular places and brief specific moments but also shape for the viewer the sense of a vast body, embedded into the architecture and now beginning to stir.
In relation to the rest of Chodzko’s practice Secretors act as a kind of ‘root’ (preceded by Transmitters, and followed by Flashers, and then Runners) to the spaces he creates in his work between a realist actuality, as intervention in social space, and a psychic space that emerges from, and feeds back into this reality, with us the viewer as a crucial part of this fluid network.
Temporary installations of Secretors include: The Lisson Gallery, London (1993), Kohji Ogura Gallery, Nagoya (1994), Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis (1995), British Council selection for Venice Biennale, Scoula San Pasquale, Venice (1995), Jan Mot, Brussels (1996), Stichting de Appel, Amsterdam (1997), Yorkshire Scuplture Park (2003), Tate St Ives (2009), The Courtauld Gallery, London (2010), Nottingham Contemporary (2014), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (2019).
They have also appeared in the backgrounds of photographs in fashion magazines; in the foreground of a Frieze magazine cover ( (No. 31, Nov-Dec 1996), (apparently, slowing time, sustaining engagement, delaying the inevitable removal of the Kara Walker cover from the previous issue); in the background of an interview on ITV’s News at Ten (1994) and in the dark corners of John Maybury’s biopic of Francis Bacon, Love is the Devil (1998).