Break glass for full effect…

But first…
Dulltown, UK/Europe: Today’s lost plectrum is the one eventually found at the bottom of a jar of pickled onions.

I was sitting on a train…
It is nice when I have a spontaneous idea for an artwork, even one that will never be made. When I have one of these I do like to think it out reasonably carefully though, I hate seeing pieces of art which the artist not really thought out, and has subsequently cobbled together badly – or because of their lack of practical skill, has paid an unskilled friend to cobble together badly for them. These pieces rarely have anything to say to the person who happens to wander into the gallery on some rainy Tuesday afternoon; a lot of sighing and shrugging goes on in front of pieces like this. Pieces that are, as the artist’s statement pinned up by the door states, ‘A document personal and meaningful to me, and my Weltanschauung – it speaks of my relationship with… blah blah…’ They might was well just say, ‘This is all about me, me, me!…’ I’m sure you know the sort of thing – a good example was of course Tracey Emin’s famous bed of 1999.
Speaking of beds, imagine an artist lying (or apparently if you are in the US, ‘laying’) in bed one morning, considering the possibilites of getting up, staring at the ceiling with open eyes and a blank mind – and then suddenly, ‘Hey, what a great idea!  Wow! When my toothbrushes finally wear out, instead of throwing them away, I’ll start keeping them, and then, when I have enough, I’ll show them, as a ‘personal statement’ in my friend Giles’s posh little gallery in Knightsbridge! I’ll text him about it later! Hang on though, how will I display them? Oh, I’ll go minimal and just pop them into a clear plastic bag pinned on the wall, that shouldn’t be too difficult… Phew! That was a good day’s work! I fancy a nice coffee and croissant now!…’
I seem to recall some artist a while back having a show in some gallery or other of his personal excrement collected and displayed in plastic bags… I think this was real, I can’t have dreamed it can I? A nightmare perhaps?…
Anyway, back to the start of this post, it seems like I’ve been typing for hours!
I was sitting on a train…
I was coming back from Liverpool after seeing Fernand Léger at the Tate there – he was very good! So, I was staring around the carriage, as one does and my gaze landed on a little glass fronted box up near the ceiling, it had a little hammer inside it. Next to the box was a sign saying something to the effect, ‘Break the Glass to Get at This Little Hammer’, but I don’t think they phrased it quite like that. I assumed that the hammer was to be used for breaking a few windows to get out should one suddenly find oneself in an upturned carriage covered in hot coffee with flames licking all around.
They didn’t say what one should use to break the glass on the box with though, but I’m sure one could find something appropriate in amongst the debris. Still, it’s nice that Transpennine Express are planning ahead.
This object on the wall set a train of thought going in my head – an idea for a silly, but perhaps engaging artwork for a gallery situation, perhaps an installation?
Here we go!
On the gallery wall, a notice and box as above described. To the right, another, slightly larger glass fronted box, with a slightly larger hammer in it, and to the right of that… Yes, you have guessed it – a larger glass fronted box with a bigger hammer in it.
You get the idea I’m sure. Somewhere off to the right it would climax with a full-size sledge-hammer in a really big, and tempting, glass fronted box.
This was about as far as my train of thought got, but then, one must consider – would there be yet a final box with no hammer? Would it be empty, to be pointlessly smashed by the previous sledge-hammer? Would it have perhaps an artist’s statement displayed in it? A tiny hammer? A vase of flowers? I’m open to suggestions, but as it will never really be done, well by me anyway (Perhaps someone will steal this idea and eventually do it?) it doesn’t really matter does it? I have seen far more boring things in galleries dear reader, haven’t you?
Ah, but of course! There’s more. There is always the chance that someone, some upstart, some confident nitwit, would take advantage of the situation and begin sequentially crashing away at all that glass – whom could resist?…
Ah, but all would not be lost! The security footage of the outrage could be shown as a video installation in a darkened booth next to the piles of hammers and broken glass…
Brilliant!… I am a genius!…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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3 Responses to Break glass for full effect…

  1. Sharon Mann says:

    What a bus ride home, your creative mind was on fire!

  2. Jheron Bash says:

    It’s been done before, Dave – by the South Korean artist Emer Gency.

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