Image © Patricia Piccinini
I love Kimya Dawson. I'm actually in love with her a little, I think. When I casually mentioned this to my girlfriend she seemed genuinely jealous, which really puzzled me – so I had to think about why? Why should she be jealous of this little love and why don't I consider that jealousy to be justified? Well the first part perhaps is only for her to answer, but the reason I was puzzled and surprised by her tiny jealousy was that this particular little love is, firstly, intangible – and secondly, in my mind, undeserved, because she is a calibre of person I'm simply not.
There's an exhibition on at Chapter at the moment. It's generally shit – like most of the exhibitions at Chapter. Impotent, self-indulgent and craftless; subservient to the need for family-friendly profitability and institutional acceptance – like most the exhibitions at Chapter. But one part of it might just be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in the building, a sculpture by Patricia Piccinini of an ill-looking young boy and an elderly manatee-like creature embracing on a bench. It's craftsmanship is such that should it have suddenly come to life while I took it in I'd have had to scold myself for assuming it couldn't. To me it's an essay in the relationship (and the superficial misunderstandings) between beauty and ugliness. Folds of elderly fat and tit, dirty broken fingernails, sagging liver-spotted skin, wrinkles and bovine down present to us this creature, simultaneously overweight and emaciated, which rests it's gentle, contented sleeping head on the boys lap.
As anyone who knows me will know – I love a monster. Drifting off to sleep that night the image of the boy and his sleeping buddy came back to me and I wanted to see it again. I've never looked eagerly forward to seeing an exhibition at Chapter again! Thinking about this, a whole monologue streamed through my head, not a word of which I bothered to get up and write down. What I write here contains nowhere near enough of it. It reminded me Carl's relationship with the motos' in Will Self's The Book of Dave – an ability to transcend the most extreme of petty aesthetic judgements and repulsions. Thinking about the sculpture, I wanted to be a part of it – not to be the boy or the creature, but to get in between them and join in the cuddle. To be a part of such humility. But when I thought about it, I couldn't – my desire felt, in my mind, undeserved, because they are a calibre of person I'm simply not. Edgar.