Living Set for Like Lazarus Did, performed by the Stephen Petronio Company, 2013
Helicopter stretcher, polyurethane resin
Janine Antoni created The Lazarus Cradle as a component of Like Lazarus Did, performed by the Stephen Petronio Company. Like Lazarus Did is inspired by the biblical story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Notions of resurrection, elevation, and ascension inspire Stephen Petronio’s choreography.
For her contribution, Antoni offered her body as a point of stillness: a hovering presence for the audience to establish a space for their collective consciousness. During the performance, the artist laid in a helicopter stretcher, which hung outside of the stage directly above the audience, her arm extended out to hold a searchlight. Antoni’s suspended body stood in stark contrast to the exuberance of Petronio’s choreographed dancers.
A constellation of her own body parts cast in resin, including her body surface, organs, and skeleton hangs above the helicopter stretcher. The forms were inspired by Milagros, a Christian practice performed in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and Portugal. When a person has an ailment they purchase a small amulet or three-dimensional figurine the ill part of their body as a prayer for healing. In some churches the ceiling has been filled with prayers in the form of wax body parts.
By the time you are in a helicopter stretcher you are at the threshold between life and death, between earth and the heavens.