The Author of Mishap (Them)
Copper powder in resin and peacock feather
Sculpture: 36 x 21.5 x 23.5 cm Plinth: 125 x 30 x 30 cm
Claydon’s The Author of Mishap (Them) takes its inspiration from J.G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough, an early 20th-century dissertation on magic and ritual that was widely denounced for its questionable methodology – a comparative anthropology by ‘genre’ rather than linear science. Mirroring Frazer’s logic, Claydon’s portrait is a composite of three heroic busts of political figures from this time, each embodying radically opposing beliefs. Through this literal hybrid, Claydon incites the current revivals of genetic engineering and post-modern eclecticism as plausible validation of Frazer’s theories. Substituting the traditional hallowed material of bronze for cast copper powder and resin, Claydon defiles his subject’s monumentality; the aged patina has been created through urinating on the object, both an act of defamation and a reference to Warhol’s egalitarian pop. Perched on a burlap-coated plinth reminiscent of 1950s gallery wall coverings, Claydon reinforces his sculpture’s historical stature while belying its association with outdated fashion. The peacock feather operates primarily as a formal device, adding a surreal and dilettantish air to the impoverished authoritarian relic.