DIALOGUE #5 (ONE HAND CLAPPING)
installation: stuffed animal, audio cassette player and blanket
16 x 63¾ x 40½ in. (40.6 x 161.9 x 102.9 cm)
executed in 1991
Jablonka Galerie, COLOGNE
COLOGNE, Jablonka Galerie, MIKE KELLEY, 1991
NEW YORK, Whitney Museum of American Art, November 5, 1993-February 20, 1994
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June 30 August 11, 1994 and STOCKHOLM, Moderna Museet, Fall 1994, MIKE KELLEY: CATHOLIC TASTES, pp. 204 (illustrated) and 250 VILLA MERKEL, Galerie Der Stadt Esslingen, FORT! DA! COOPERATIONS!, February-June 1997
E. Sussman, MIKE KELLEY: CATHOLIC TASTES, NEW YORK,1994, pp. 204 (illustrated) and 250 J. C. Welchman, I. Graw and A. Vidler, MIKE KELLEY, LONDON, 1999, pp.72-73 (illustrated).
Moving away from the pictorial specificity that was becoming associated with his wall-bound hanging stuffed animal sculptures, Kelly took his sculptural "craft morphologies" into a new phase of development: the objects migrated from the wall to the floor.
By sitting the stuffed toys on blankets placed directly on the floor, Kelley creates works with an entirely new feelconfronting the viewer from an entirely new angle. The DIALOGUE series, of which the present lot is included, was conceived of in Pasadena California at Art Center Pasadena, when a colleague of his set their daughter on a blanket on the floor. With her toys, the child proceeded to ape the way in which adults interacted with each other. Taking his cue from the toddler, Kelley began to contrive compositions where one or multiple stuffed animals would appear to be interacting with one another or in the present lot, an unseen individual while seated on blankets. Their floor-bound orientation grants the viewer access to the works that was not possible in his wall-mounted pieces. The introduction of an audio element in the form of a looping audio track played through a "boom box" further enhances the interactive reciprocation between object and audience. One becomes drawn into the actual scene almost becoming part of the dialogue in the case of the present lot, yet another unseen participant in the dialogue.
Watching and listening to the ranting discourse about family relations (among other topics) the object takes on a "life" and personality of it's own. We cannot help but imagine and almost believe that the voice emanating from the "boom-box" is the voice of the stuffed toy. Bringing us back to a time when we, very much like the toddler in Pasadena - would mimic and "make believe with our own toys. John C. Welchman has described states:
KELLEY'S FLUFFY POSEURS ARE PROPS , CHARACTERS AND SUBJECTIVE RESIDUALS. WE INVEST THEM WITH A KIND OF PATHETIC SUBLIME WHILE THEY ENGULF US IN… THE ULTIMATE NARRATIVE BEHIND KELLY'S GESTURES IS THE STORY OF SYMBOLIC MEANING
J.C. Welchman, I. Graw and A. Vidler, MIKE KELLEY, LONDON, 1999, p. 71