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mixed media assemblage
clownfaces behind sharkskin in party wine bottle carrier.
by Dale Copeland, 2006
450 X 300 X 50 mm
Juvenes dum sumus
Post jucundum juventutem
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus
Let us rejoice therefore
While we are young.
After a pleasant youth
After a troublesome old age
The earth will have us.
At the 2006 Otago University Capping concert, six young men in formal black suits but with painted clown faces held out glasses of champagne while solemnly singing this traditional students' song.
Some images, some acts, are so RIGHT they become legend immediately. Mythology made.
Here six clown faces are in a "carry your wine bottle in style" box, covered with dry sharkskin. (Dried fish skin was used on the stage in the early 1900s to make young faces look old.)
Go down smiling, your youth behind the skin which doesn't wash off any more.
Rejoice while you can, dance till you drop.
Some things are permanent.
Never go out without a spare happy face or six.
You never know when you'll need one.
A friend (wonderful woman, an actress who understudied Ava Gardner(!)) told me that actors used to use fishskin on their faces when they had to act old. I guess it dried and pulled faces into wrinkles.
I love it used like vellum, like tissue paper with attitude.
Translucent, tough and untouchable (all those tiny spikes).
I think these skins are from stingrays.
I am fortunate in my friends .. one who dries fish skin in experimenting for sword hilts, and one who tells me the previous uses, hiding youth.
Dale's studio can be found on Surf Highway, Taranaki, New Zealand
More of her work can be seen on the Virtual TART site at http://virtual.tart.co.nz/Dale
email Dale at dale @ tart.co.nz (remove the spaces)
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