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Acheron, 2021

145 x 145cm, Artificial Intelligence

In Greek mythology, the Acheron is one of the five Underworld rivers that fed from a swampy lake called Acherousia or Acherousian lake. The Acheron is the River of Woe or the River of Misery; and in some tales it is the principal river of the Underworld, displacing the Styx, so in those tales the ferryman Charon takes the dead across the Acheron to transport them from the upper to the lower world.

There are several rivers in the upper world named Acheron: the best known of these was in Thesprotia, which flowed through deep gorges in a wild landscape, occasionally disappearing underground and passing through a marshy lake before emerging into the Ionian sea. It was said to have had an oracle of the dead beside it.

In his Frogs, the comic playwright Aristophanes has a character curse a villain by saying, “And the crag of Acheron dripping with gore can hold you.” Plato (in The Phaedo) described Acheron windily as “the lake to the shores of which the souls of the many go when they are dead, and after waiting an appointed time, which is to some a longer and to some a shorter time, they are sent back again to be born as animals.”

(N.S Gill, 2019)