Thursday, 3 August 2017

The perfect murder

Right now, I am making a pheasant. It begins with polystyrene and plaster, then ends up in bronze. It will be an expensive pheasant.

Someone asked me yesterday why I just did not buy a stuffed pheasant and cover it in plaster. I did not bother to give the answer they should have eventually worked out for themselves, so I just said, "That - in the sculptural world - is what is known as 'cheating'."

When I make these birds and animals, I am brought to a sensibility of how far I have come in understanding their lives and the way they conduct them. It is not just a case of how they are physically put together - I have taken many pheasants apart after death, and that experience has provided very little which is useful in sculpture, despite Stubbs hacking whole horses apart before he painted them.

They have to be anatomically correct to a certain extent, but not just clinical illustrations of muscle structure beneath the fur and feathers. This is the explanation which I could not be bothered to give the person who asked the silly question, and you can see why.

My pheasant is unaware of my fox which is looking down on him from above as he creeps up. The two work as a pair in sculptural terms. This means that the tail feathers must be low to the ground, and not up in a cocky display of masculinity. The person who suggested that I entomb a real pheasant in plaster also suggested that I have the feathers up. He was obviously not thinking too hard about the whole thing.

Neither was George Segal when he made those plaster figures. They once suspected him of murder and broke open a cast of a human figure to see what was inside. Just imagine - the perfect crime. You kill someone, turn them into a sculpture, then get paid a lot of money for allowing the general public to come and view your victim up close.

15 comments:

  1. You can but dream, Tom.

    There is a marvellous Roald Dahl story. Man nags, woman has enough. She hits him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb. Genius. Who needs a golf club lying around? Woman puts leg of lamb in oven. Roasts. Not that Dahl was an accomplished cook. It's very hard to roast a leg of lamb from frozen. Doesn't matter. Never let anything stand in the way of a good story. Police arrives, investigates, scratches head. No motive, no murder weapon. For their efforts the lady of the house offers them a nicely cooked leg of roast lamb. They eat it.

    U

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    1. (I love the one with the brain, the woman the cigarette - no murder, but revenge)

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    2. I wish I didn't have to wait for a more unreasonable or vindictive outburst from you, Ursula. I really don't understand why you keep coming back here and contributing when you have been politely - and sometimes not so politely - asked to stay away. I find your unpredictability too unsettling for my yearned-for quiet life, but since you have had some responses from people who have not experienced your negative side, I am not going to delete your comment - this time.

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  2. I know Dahl's story (which I think funny) - but through working on my Crime-Series Book I have to say: police would get wary if they get offered a dish :-)

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    1. Let alone the pies sold by Sweeney Todd...

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  3. Didn't Agatha Christie write a murder story with an ice bullet that melted after contact? I remember one of her stories that involved arsenic on the glue strip of an addressed envelope. Lick the poison, then send the evidence back to the murdered. Brilliant.

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    1. Who licks the envelope? Ice bullets are a nice idea, but very impractical. If I want to do away with someone, I just cast the spell of all knowledge, and they blow away as dust.

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  4. I would like to make a pheasant and see it emerge from my hands like magic.

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  5. Would love to see the finished piece.

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    1. I would love to show you, but I cannot.

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  6. Yesterday Marie Smith (Island Musings) had a beautiful series of photos of an overly friendly young fox on PEI. Handsome brute.

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    1. I am in two minds about making good friends with wildlife, mainly for their sake, but in the case of wolves and tigers, for my sake also.

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  7. Can you give me some suggestion through by your post.Thanks.
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