I have been looking at Mike Kelley’s work this week for inspiration for my final project piece. The three works I have mainly focused on are Memory Ware Flat #18, Frankenstein and More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid. Memory Ware Flat #18 is part of an ongoing series that consists of badges, buttons, cheap jewellery, key rings and other items set into tile grouting and framed to create a large piece of work that can be hung on the wall. The items used are things we see every day and probably take for granted but displayed in this way the audience wants to spend time trying to account for all elements and identify them.
Frankenstein, one of my favourite pieces, is a ‘monster’ created from pre-loved cuddly toys that have had a life before being turned into something else. To me the work has an air of sadness about it, these toys that were once so loved by children now become part of something that could be seen as being hideous. The toys were probably really important and well-loved by the owner when young but have been cast off and disregarded as the owner has grown up. The work represents a forgotten childhood to me as a viewer.
The other work I looked at, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid, is a wall hanging created, again, from pre-loved soft toys. The title gives us a glimpse into the pasts of these toys, they have provided love and comfort to their owner and that can never be repaid. Again, to me this work has an air of sadness about it, of forgotten childhoods and how simple things were before growing up. Despite the sadness I feel when looking at Mike’s work, I really like the way he has used the toys and feel that he has been really sensitive to his subject and the materials used.