10 Aug 20 by justatest
What a peculiar place to sleepI thought. I resolved to remove it in late Spring when the water levels decrease however I'd forgotten all about it when, receiving an invitation some months later to participate in a show in Florence on the theme of "The place of dreams and dreaming", I ventured out again to check.
I didn´t go to see the show (the cost of shipment was already enough expense) but later by chance found this image on the web. I suspect from the photo that it may be the back entrance to the gallery and that the gallerist would have really preferred to leave my work in the laneway outside!
[photo: Ilaria G., Firenze]
A final glistening coat of rabbit-skin glue finished it off. All that remained to do then was to build a crate and send it off to Florence.
A view of the back of the finished piece. The mattress itself is still clearly evident with the wire holding it all together and upright, in quite a visually dominant manner. I found this an interesting juxtaposition to the view at the front, and so then decided against covering all the surface of the cage in leaves.
As an attempt to soften the impact of the jagged wire surround, I wove some fallen leaves of a cordylion tree within the wire - not being too sure of what the addition of natural elements like these would be. I´d normally shy away from combining works directly with nature in this way. In the end I thought it worked okay to ease the visually ´aggressive´ wire and to regain a more proper feminine aspect as a border framing device.
In a basket
As the application of glue alone wasn´t sufficient to allow it stand up, I made up a kind of cage basket from wire I´d taken from a derelict tennis court. That gave it the stability to stand by itself and made it more robust. However I was not too happy about the visible effect of all that wire.
I brought it inside and applied a first coat of hot rabbit-skin glue in an attempt to have it stiffen up in order that it might stand upright by itself. The combination of glue, dried mud from the stream, and rotten old foam made for quite a noticeable odour.
For sure, I mused
those slickly-suited Florentines are going to like this one NOT!
The first cut
Now dried, I used a large knife to cut out a vaguely triangular shape from one end. I then cut deeply into the foam and folded out the two resulting sides. I was thinking of a vagina or vulva-like form which, to my mind, is usually a pretty good subject to dream about.
Of course you'll understand that my focus on this aspect of female anatomy was exclusively in consideration and respect for the theme of the exhibition.
Out to dry
A good couple of hours of much slimy and slippery tugging and heaving followed. It was like wrestling with a monster fat slug weighing a tonne filled with mud and water. Once out and propped up on lengths of wood, it remained like that for some weeks to drain out and dry.
The abandoned mattress was indeed still there in the stream at the end of the garden. The water level had dropped sufficiently that I could consider taking it out to have a closer look.