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1950s gallery wall coverings, Claydon reinforces his sculpture’s historical stature while belying its association with outdated fashion.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