CRUSHER SLED (with Peter McLean). 2003.


Various means of torture were employed on persons accused of witchcraft. If someone confessed, he/she was spared the gallows and sent back to prison. If an accused person did not confess to witchcraft, he/she was much more likely to be hanged. One individual died during the act of torture, undergoing particularly brutal, prolonged and painful treatment.

Derived from the European Inquisition, the method of torture used in this case was to slowly pile more and more rocks upon the victim’s chest until she relented and admitted to being a witch. One victim stayed completely mute throughout the excruciating process of crushing. After his death, excusing their culpability, the Magistrates stated, “His life passed accidentally from him.”

Modeled on a stone boat or sled, this sculpture also refers to the heavy and constant work of moving stones with teams of oxen or horses in order to clear fields and to use in construction.