Friday, January 29, 2010

Papier-mâché birds; toys and sculpure

Here's a collection of papier mache birds I've been working on over the last few days.

The thing is to find the right degree of anthropomorphism: the right balance between bird and suggested human characteristics for them to be fun.

They need to dry a little before I can work more into them, making their surfaces more even and improving their tails and beaks. Later they will be painted.


At what point does a toy become a sculpture? At the point at which it is too precious or serious looking to be played with, I guess.*

Play is regarded with tremendous suspicion in our culture though it lies beneath so many artistic endeavors. I suspect play is regarded with suspicion because it is regarded as the opposite of work, and Western societies are very much in thrall to the Protestant Capitalist ethos, whereby all activities must have a known, profitable end- to the extent that people are encouraged to feel bad about themselves when they aren't working, no matter how unfulfilling the jobs available to them are.

*Alexander Calder is an exception to this. Paul Klee, like Picasso, is playful but you couldn't really play with his works. Perhaps readers have other examples?

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