Friday, 23 May 2008


Extract from Gordon Burn, Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel:
'I was desperately hoping that Madeleine would be back before the Cat got washed,’ her mother told The Times on 8 August. ‘In the end Cuddle Cat smelt of sun-tan lotion and everything. I forgot what colour it was.’
Mike Kelley has often said that ‘dirt’ is what his installations, consisting of abject and orphaned cuddly toys picked up from yard sales and thrift stores, are really about: ‘Because dolls represent such an idealised notion of the child, when you see a dirty one you think of a fouled child. And so you think of a dysfunctional family… The toy begins to take on the characteristics of the child itself – it smells like the child and becomes torn and dirty like real things do. It then becomes a frightening object because it starts to represent the human in a real way and that’s when it’s taken from the child and thrown away.’
In a society fuelled by pictures of success, wrote Ralph Rugoff, these images of failure generate the anxiety which surrounds the taboo. Kelley’s creatures are not funny on account of their pitiable appearance, but because they befoul the sublime hygiene of the gallery or museum (or the double-fronted executive dream home). Examine them too closely and their lovable personalities dissolve into clumps of unwashed fabric, limp and devoid of architectural structure.
After their flight from Praia da Luz in early September, the helicopter tracking shots at that end, the crate of toys in the driveway of the white adobe Vista do Mar, the helicopter tracking shots at this end, the paparazzi riding pillion, facing backwards to get the eyes of Gerry and Kate, the figures standing in sun-roofs, Richard Bilson outside apartment 5A at the Ocean Club resort, Huw Edwards in the studio, it was repeatedly reported that the Portuguese police wanted to re-examine – ‘seize’ was always the English translation – Madeleine’s Cuddle Cat, on which the sniffer dogs had allegedly picked up ‘the scent of death’ in the summer.


Il Discotto said...

Ha ha, I didn't read the introduction and was about to congratulate you on your best blog this year!

(your blog is still good though)

_Black_Acrylic said...

Well, my prose wouldn't be up to Burn's standards. I'm about half-way through his book, highly recommended it is too.

I've just been outbid on that "manky child's cardigan", so will need to hope the eBay gods are smiling on me x