This Mantled

"An Amusing Assembly of Miniature Miscellany, Odd and Ends, Bits and Bobs, Figurative and Other Artwork in a Spectacularly Shelfish and Diverting Display Featuring Twelvemo Figures and Silver Dolossies"

This Mantled was an arrangement of things covering one wall of the sitting room (Marlborough Road in 2011) for a few months. I hosted a couple of public/private viewings which were great fun. "It was so interesting my head nearly fell off" said Colin, aged 4, who came twice.


The things were arranged partly by formal categorisations of size, colour, texture and so on. This gives rise to strange combinations and associations. It generates the opportunities for us to recognise things we didn't know were there until we see them suggested in front of us.

Twelvemo is the protagonist in this theatre of strange props. The human form is universal (even though Twelvemo, conversely, is also strangely unique and tiny) and the things and props around the figure are many and varied, so the arrangements can provoke dim or unusual memories in the viewer, causing them to look inside themselves as they look at the work. 

Prevalent recurring themes include distortions of scale and surreal juxtapositions, notions of bizarre narrative, female identity. There are dense and intense levels of detail and pattern, patina and age. 

The small human form is a very compelling thing (as many and ancient cultures know) and the smallness of the work invites an unavoidable intimacy. The viewer desires to get up close and to do so has to make themselves small to appreciate it, to be among it. In doing this they become acutely aware of their proximity, their hugeness, their breath on the objects as a warm gale, their fingers itching to touch and handle but fearing to disturb the arrangement or knock it all down. 

As I dismantled the display I took photos and made this animation which is strangely frustrating to watch.... You can't focus on any of the objects, like a shark unable to focus on a single fish in a shoal of fish!