20 Jun 11 by JP Delaney
Another one of Mauro Lovo's invitations to make a work for a group show in a gallery in Florence. The theme this time is "The Place of Dreams and Dreaming".

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Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13039

Water bed

Since the start of the year, I'm living alone in a thatched cottage in Ireland. There's a stream at the end of the garden which turns almost into a fast-running river in winter, where I had noticed someone had put a mattress. "What an odd place to sleep I thought" Thinking of the health of that person in such a wet and cold environment, I resolved to remove it once the water level had lowered.
I'd forgotten about the mattress until I received Mauro's invitation this month to participate in a show on the theme of Places to Dream and Dreaming. Next day I went to check out the stream.

Dream Vagina

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13040

Dream Vagina
Sun lounge

I spent a good 2 hours tugging and heaving the thing out of the shallow stream. It was like a fat slimy slug weighing a tonne, filled with mud and water. Here it is finally propped up in the garden to begin drying in the June sun. As it frequently rains too, I'm regularly running out to cover it so it slowly looses all the liquid and I can begin to take a good look at it.

Dream Vagina

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13041

Dream Vagina
The carving

So, the mattress had dried out somewhat. I took a breadknife from the kitchen and started cutting. For some reason I was thinking of a large vagina-like form (maybe that's the result of being too long on my own). I find myself strangely attracted to that part of the female anatomy - is that odd? Anyway, it makes for a great subject to dream about. I was thinking of giving it the title riverbed.

Dream Vagina

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13042

Dream Vagina
Dry and indoors

First of all, apologies to the ladies for getting the names of their parts wrong, and thanks to Hanjo over here
https://artprocess.com/delaney/42#1555
for upbraiding me on my oversight. Somehow I get the impression they would be more concerned with a typical male viewpoint of objectifying their body which possibly goes hand-in-hand with my display of ignorance.
Ok then, this photo shows it (the vulva) after I applied a coat of rabbit-skin glue size. It tightens and hardens the foam and cloth covering and adds a slight glisten, and it begins to smell a bit. Boy, are the slick-suited Florentines going to like this NOT.

Dream Vagina

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13043

Dream Vagina
Examination table

Wandering through the grounds of a nearby hotel which had closed down a couple of years ago, I observed that the 2.5 metre-high wire boundary fence of the tennis court overlooking the sea was in a state of disrepair. I figured I could make good use of that so I harangued my brother to show up with his van very early one Sunday morning. As I didn't want to unduly stress some person of responsibility to consider the possibility of donating the fence to me, we promptly dismantled and stole the lot. Such is the kind of practical solution one only learns at art school. I have enough now to last me years - at least 3 or 4 large sculptures.
Anyway, it turns out that the wire is only woven and needs to be stretched out tight or else just collapses in a formless heap. That's not much good for what I want, so I have to reinforce each weave by twisting a length of wire around it to give it some structure. It's a pain to do, as it takes a lot of work and it's very time consuming. I've decided to use some of the wire to make a frame for the mattress.

Dream Vagina

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13044

Dream Vagina
Front view

Here it is sitting in it's cage. There's something angry and aggressive about those uneven bits of metal wire framing, what is supposed to be, the epitome of femininity. So I'll have to soften it up somehow.

Dream Vagina

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13045

Dream Vagina
Rear view

Every few days I find myself picking up dead leaves from the palm-like trees that grow a lot in this part of the world. Apparently they're called Cordylines and originate in Australia, however the wet Irish weather doesn't seem to bother them too much other than to regularly shed the bottom layer of old growth. I'm normally one to shy away from using natural elements in the things I make. The

Dream Vagina

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#13046

Dream Vagina
A dream vagina

I've added a couple of more coats of rabbit-skin glue size to give the vulva a glossy finish, and that more-or-less completes this exercise I believe. I think I'll just give it an innocuous title like

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#1963
03 Apr 12 10:46

Hi JP, I like a lot the materials you use. The image made me think of a huge hazelnut and what would happen if you'd do sculputure the way you do paintings.

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#1964
04 Apr 12 13:34

Thanks for your comment Patricia. Unfortunately my year in Ireland has come to an end, and I find myself back, once more, in Italy washing the dishes.
Regarding what you say, I had begun working on a second piece (using the other remaining part of the mattress) with the idea of making a second version, only painted this time. Sadly, I'm afraid that it's going to be a long time before I ever get back there to continue with it, and eventually document it in a studio log.
Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to starting some new work once I'm settled back in Rome.

Permalink: https://artprocess.com/delaney/6964#1965
05 Apr 12 14:36

You're back in Rome! *.* I hope to get there soon, too; would love to see you! Christina is on her own and I'm sure she'd love to get together with you!