Thursday, 3 November 2011

Huge Consequences


Papiér mche over wood and wire structure, decoupage, gouache.

This piece was created for the 2011 “Big Draw” event held at 15 Queen Street for which the theme was “Fantastic Creatures”.

It consists of a pre-built structure painted all over in white by the artist which was then given over to attendees of the event to paint and embellish freely.

The inspiration and title for the piece comes from the well known parlour game “consequences” (as the structure was still being finished on the morning of the event we were calling it “There may be consequences” up until the last minute!).

The project was designed to mimic the form of the consequences game in that the parts of the piece were presented in three separate rooms at 15 Queen Street and only when assembled at the end of the evening could the whole be seen.

Although the project was primarily envisaged as an easy access group project the form of the piece includes quite a lot of symbolism tied in with the theme of the event and the organisers have asked me to provide some information on this.

The piece is totem like in form and construction. Totems were often undertaken as group projects by a tribe(as is the case here) and were usually surmounted by the eagle or raven. Here the bird is the owl, the symbol of Athena (patroness of arts and crafts) who is often depicted taking this form or with an owl companion. The tribal feel was carried through much of the piece evidenced by the long neck and limbs and the full belly and breast reminiscent of the Earth Mother common to many belief systems from tribes in Africa, the near and middle East, Europe and the Americas.

The bottom section of the piece is roughly based on the legs of a fawn with ideas of Pan and Dionysus but also hint at the “Bal des Ardents” a fascinating event from the court of the French king Charles VI (hence the 15th Century codpiece on the sculpture). Said to be the first masquerade, the Bal started as a prank and ended in disaster and intrigue. Continuing the masquerade theme a Venetian style Zanni mask was made to fit the head of the piece but was not decorated by the attendees of the event and so has not been included in the final assembly.

Russell Clement