"RECONSIDERING SISYPHUS (fallen obelisk)" 2020, granite/galvanized and powder coated steel, 123"h x102"w x43"d



Pronunciation: 'si-s&-f&s
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, from Greek Sisyphos
: a legendary king of Corinth condemned eternally to repeat the cycle of rolling a heavy rock up a hill in Hades only to have it roll down again as it nears the top.

Because of his  worldly transgressions the Greek mythical character Sisyphus, was forced to perpetually roll a large stone up a steep hill,

only to have it tumble back after reaching the top. I am drawn to this ancient story because of its profound connection to the plight of the artist and humanity in general.


If we “Reconsider Sisyphus” as the French existentialist Albert Camus suggests in his essay  The Myth of Sisyphus , we see this plight as not punishment but process; 

Camus famously states, “We must imagine Sisyphus happy”. Seen through this lens, the idea of reaching ones final destination is not always the most important,

 it is rather the struggle or journey reveals itself as ultimately the most meaningful.


Many of us are in situations that seem totally overwhelming or daunting.  We are often faced with continual setbacks (stone rolling back to the bottom),

whether they be with family, personal relationships, attempts in art/business or with serious health issues.

Getting up, pushing our stone back up the hill is not only noble, but it is precisely the effort that, in the end, gives us hope and dignity.


John Van Alstine


more info

artist statement - Sisyphean Series