JANE MULFINGER: The Drunkard Forwarned and the Swearer Caution’d I,
London 1998, Turin 2000
17'x18'x4', air compressor, vinyl, cloth, etched silver plate, video
The Mayor Gallery, London, 1999
Galerie Carbone, Turin, 2000
A large silver balloon, (a bouncer or bouncy-castle), sits underneath solid silver panels that list the ancient Virtues and Vices. The audience is invited to climb onto the 'cloud' and view the silver panels and the endless videotape of cumulous clouds passing rapidly overhead. If the audience stays long enough, the cloud will slowly engulf them. This work is meant to provide contemplation of air and matter, heaven and hell, virtue and vice and through the title and text, witness the outward changes in moral coding.
below: Los Angeles
The Drunkard Forwarned and the Swearer Caution’d II, LA · 2004
Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis, Los Angeles
A site-specific artwork that poses the oppositions of innocence and sin in the form of a fallen cloud
Polyester, vinyl, compressed air, video projection, text, steel and electronics are the materials used for this work. Located directly under a skylight, the 20x15' "bouncy castle for adults" pulsates in silver lame on a timer. The cloud’s soft and slippery exterior makes its impossible to walk a straight line. All those who mount it, must sit. A minimal video projection of clouds passing overhead projects onto the wall, containing split-second glimpses of roses; Red Planet, Blue Moon, and Evening Star, all recent hybrids. The skylight possesses an unforeseen architectural design flaw, which encourages the audience to recline on the cloud and study the vinyl text. (The glass floor for the building’s second floor is the skylight for the gallery space, which means that occupants of the gallery can surreptitiously view individuals above, in ways that compromise privacy). The title of the work, “The Drunkard Forwarned and the Swearer Caution’d” is the title of a letter written in the 1600s from one city official to another in northern Europe, describing the miraculous survival of a town drunkard after experiencing spontaneous combustion in his kitchen. The artist finds humor in this heavily laden religious interpretation of the event and wishes to translate this humor into the gaudy material of the cloud. Within the light well of the skylight, steel cable joins corresponding ancient virtues and vices, Giotto's version in the Padua Chapel. This language, albeit distant in time, continues to form the morals that guide western culture today.