|All Images: 'Childish Things 2 (Mistreated)', Salvaged Toy, Spray Enamel, Salvaged |
Cardboard Boxes, MDF, Acrylics, Paper Collage, Adhesive Tape, French Polish,
Salvaged Junk Mail, 58 cm x 91 cm x 61 cm, 2018
The summer recess is finally here, and with the long, uninterrupted days opening up before me (not to mention the spectacularly clement outdoor working conditions) – stuff’s suddenly starting to come together.
Here then, is the second of my newly completed ‘Childish Things’ sculptures (subtitled, ‘Mistreated’). It follows the basic blueprint of the first, by combining a discarded sit-on toy with a supporting platform of cardboard boxes - the essential rationale of which is unchanged. However, this one’s designed as a floor-based piece, and intended to be looked down upon from above.
It will also be the slightly odd one out (of the four currently in production), in that the toy itself, being a rocking horse, is only nominally a vehicle - whilst the others all have (or had) wheels. Indeed, whilst unmistakenly a resonant object, the lack of mechanical structure made any intervention suggestive of its practical dysfunction harder to envisage. I considered various ways to tamper with what is essentially just a moulded plastic lump, until I realised that simply setting it at an angle was sufficient to suggest its expiry, and make it more formally satisfying to boot. Recourse to an old cartoon shorthand - in the form of painted crosses on the eyes, was sufficient to underline the idea that this horse has simply reached the end of the road and keeled over.
There’s little extra to tell from a formal/constructional point of view, other than to point out that the printed matter augmenting the supporting inclined platform is just a minute portion of the relentless avalanche of junk pushed through my letterbox (and diligently collected) during the few months these pieces have been in gestation. Any messages, meanings or associations to be found therein are, as ever, for the viewer to decide upon. For my own part (and bearing in mind my much-vaunted ‘State-of-the-Nation’ malarkey), a few possibly useful questions here might include…
- Just what, exactly is being flogged here (apart from a selection of highly-processed food products, of course)?
- Has anyone been secretly hoping for a champion to ride in on a white mount, and recue us all in our hour of need? Anyone got a plan B?
- What (if anything) is the significance of horses in the British psyche? Is there anything special about the white ones?
- Clearly, this horse is going nowhere – but was it ever? Signs are - it was only ever really capable of oscillating back and forth in unstable(d) vacillation.
- Was it ridden to death, or simply put out of its misery?
- Has anyone bolted the stable door – even now?
- What would be the chances of sorting out a few of those mixed messages –before shoveling them onto my doormat?
- Who is going to sort out my funeral? Also – is it really admissible for such a significant but over-generalised theme as ‘Death’ to just emerge, purely by chance, this late in a project or individual work’s development?
- Need cash quick?