Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Meet Mr Spiky

No, this is nothing to do with the echidnas in my last post!  Instead here’s what we affectionately call Mr Spiky, a sculpture (?) that hangs on the living room wall. 

It’s about three feet wide by two and half feet high and is made of 41 thin metal pieces that look as if they're floating (but are attached to a supporting framework).  I have absolutely no idea whose creation it is.  I know my mum bought it at least twenty years ago but I can’t remember exactly when, that it represents sails (shimmering on a sea in the sunlight I presume) and that she was very excited about getting it.  When she died I kept a few bits and pieces of artistic interest from her house; this was one.  I packed some boxes of pottery and books and the 1970s bamboo lobster pot stool into the back of my little Peugeot 106, and laid Mr Spiky on top of them to take home.  Each of those 41 metal quadrangles is so sharp-edged I had visions of doing an emergency stop and it coming flying at my neck from the back seat, resulting in some gory Jayne Mansfield-style decapitation. 'Woman Killed By Dead Mother's Sculpture', the headline in the local paper would read.  With this lethal weapon behind me I don’t think I’ve ever driven so cautiously, nor been quite so prepared to actually run over a hapless rabbit should it have crossed my path, rather than have to brake suddenly.

Mr Spiky still causes injuries now and then - it’s hard to keep free from dust and cobwebs without getting scratched in the process (me, I mean) - but generally it remains untouched.  I’m so used to it now that I don’t really see it, and forget that it’s there, with a pile of CDs and a guitar below it, just part of the furniture.

We’ve talked about getting rid of it, to make room for shelves or a bookcase or something more functional, but I’ve still got a soft spot for this piece of metallic art.  I like the way the light catches the ‘sails’ differently at various times of day, and I like the fact that somebody took great care over it - albeit in a rugged, metalworking kinda way, and made something quite beautiful from a basic element.  I wish I knew who that person was, though, and I don’t know how to find out.

Just please don't say it looks like a swastika!

It had to be... Metal Dance


  1. It looks deadly and the picture of you risking decapitation is frightening and comical...not real comical. You know what I mean...hopefully.

    It's beautiful though. Really.

    It's not entirely unlike a sophisticated version of the kind of "Folk"* Art you find in these parts.

    *I won't sully your blog with my irritation over that condescending nonsense.

  2. I'd never have bought it myself - but I can't see it objectively any more because it was in my mum's house for some time and it's been in mine for 13 years - somehow I can't define it or judge it or see it any other way, it's just Mr Spiky! Weird how that happens to some things, especially art.
    (Yes, I do know what you mean, e.f.: - about as comical as a fish with teeth)

  3. It's fab - somehow there's something very 'Abigail's Party' about that aesthetic. I hope you wear a maxi dress and have Demis Roussos playing in the background when you dust it.

    And how great to see another bit of my own past - that SPK 12" cover! Have you played yours recently? I must admit mine doesn't get a lot of rotation these days...

    1. Ah, yes of course I do, whilst sipping at a Beaujolais.

      I just KNEW you'd have SPK - I almost mentioned you when I put that in as I was so sure. No longer have that 12" but, you know, it still sounds good to my ears...

  4. Very cool, very 70's. Every home should have one. Jayne Mansfield decapitated? Can't say I knew that.

    1. Thanks, SB. Actually I'm thinking that may well be one of those urban myths about Jayne M - and here's me just adding to all that misinformation out there by saying it again. Who knows what to believe?!

  5. While I am very happy that you remain un-decapitated "Woman Killed By Dead Mother's Sculpture" is such a good headline!

    I remember a sculpture quite similar to Spiky that was in the home of a school friend (very ARTY parents) back in the 70's... I thought they were very cool as they had no carpets (which seemed so bohemian to me for some reason). I have no idea who it was by and I don't think "wall art" was something you bought in Woolworths back then so maybe it was by the same artist as Spiky, who knows!

    I do remember telling my Mum excitedly about their uncarpeted home and the paintings and sculptures and my friend's father's long flowing hair... her reply was "Yes, AND I bet he still wanders around bare foot!" which even at my young age I picked up as a sign of disapproval.

    1. Ha ha - WE didn't have carpets either!!! At least, not downstairs. We had a very modern 1960s house with parquet flooring, green and yellow rugs and gold curtains in the living room, and a purple painted bathroom... Art and sculptures everywhere... Yep, very '70s arty! I identify with your friend's house very much!

  6. Yep, my mother would have labelled you Bohemian and been vigilant for evidence of debauchery (eating Avacado and other such decadence!) ;o)


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