Mixed Marriage


"Mixed Marriage", 2006. Plastic forks, wooden chopsticks, nylon thread; 240 x 240cm.

"Mixed Marriage" is shown hanging in the open-air gallery atrium at Rimbun Dahan, Kuang, Malaysia in 2006. It was also exhibited in Queer City  (a Midsumma Festival exhibition) in January 2008. 


Several weeks ago I read in one of the weekend newspaper magazines a regular article about people's "favourite things". This particular week one of the objects was a small length of an enormously long daisy chain, made as an entry in a sculpture competition by the interviewee's nine-year-old daughter, Lola. Part of Lola's artist's statement was: 

"I like daisy chains because you start with something little and end with something big."

I tore the page out, took it to my studio and stuck Lola's quotation in my journal.

In Malaysia in 2006 on an artists' residency, I was invited to be part of an exhibition entitled Feed Me!. The curatorial theme was an exploration of food and its cultural and social significance.

I thought of the role that a common interest in food - recipes, ritual, preparation, cooking, eating - had played (and continues to play) in the successful meeting of my family with my Malaysian partner and his family, and on a broader scale, of the importance of food - in all its various manifestations - in intercultural relations. 

I started to play with disposable eating utensils - cheap, abundant, light, easily worked. One result is "Mixed Marriage": a cargo net, a double hammock, an Islamic grille, a picnic rug, an aerialist's safety net, a trap...  

It looks - in a sideways glance - at pattern and the grid, at biodegradability and permanence, at natural and synthetic materials, at the culture of the disposable, and at the occident and the orient, in a transformation of the mundane.

Cutlery has been an object and subject I have often returned to - subconsciously - in my work. Aside from the tactile attractions of its immediately-recognisable and particular shapes, maybe what I return to is its symbolic representation of order, of ritual and civilised ingestion, of the set table, of sitting down to dinner and conversations over a meal and what that might stand against.

You could add to Lola's statement: "...because you start with lots of worthless things and end with one thing of value", and " ...because you start with something disposable and end with something you want to keep". 

But Lola's statement is important: you start with something little and end with something big, and not just in size.

Tim Craker, December 2007

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