Steven Claydon - Contemporary Artists

The Author of Mishap (Them)

The Author of Mishap (Them) The Saatchi Gallery
 

Steven Claydon

The Author of Mishap (Them)

2005
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1950s gallery wall coverings, Claydon reinforces his sculpture’s historical stature while belying its association with outdated fashion.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.
 
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