Royal Academy rejects sculpture but loves plinth
When the artist David Hensel was told that his sculpture of a laughing face had been selected for the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, he was thrilled. But his delight turned to puzzlement when he searched the show high and low before discovering that only its plinth was on display.
Somewhere during the selection process - when Royal Academicians choose from among nearly 10,000 works submitted for inclusion by members of the public - the head and the base were separated. And it emerged yesterday that the selectors had judged each on its merits. They admired the plinth enormously but rejected the head.
A new meeting was being called last night to scrutinise the two pieces together as Hensel intended and consider whether the work, One Day Closer to Paradise, should be reunited.
The artist himself, however, is rather intrigued by the consequences of the error. Hensel, 61, of East Grinstead, West Sussex, said: "As someone who has spent my entire life trying to come up with a new definition of art every day so that I know whether I'm an artist or not, this is very interesting. Of course I would have liked to have my intended sculpture on show. But what I think now is I'm very amused - I never got cross.
"The great big laughing head is a kind of image of what one might feel about the idea of going to paradise. From one angle it's complete laughter and from another the face looks completely horrified. That's why I wanted it to be loose. The base is made from mortuary slab and the little piece of wood that was meant to keep the head in place looks like bone. So the fact that the head has disappeared is entirely in keeping. Maybe it achieved transcendence. I think it's totally delightful."
The problem is of the variety that is supposed to be resolved at the so-called varnishing day on the Monday before the show opened. But Hensel was unable to go to that event because he was teaching. So it was only when he attended a preview at the end of last week that he realised what had happened.
"I went around the whole thing and by the time I got to the end I was feeling a bit depressed because actually there's a lot of stuff in there that isn't as good as it could be," he said. "And then right at the end, after going round everywhere, I saw the base. I went straight away to speak to somebody at the desk."
A Royal Academy spokeswoman said: "Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently. The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted; it is currently on display. The head has been safely stored."
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, which includes 1,300 works by Royal Academicians and members of the public, is open until 20 August.
South Korea ferry: Sewol captain says he is 'sorry to the people of South Korea' and that he delayed evacuating ship in case passengers 'drifted away'
Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Kingdom Tower: Construction of 1km high new world’s tallest building to begin next week in Saudi Arabia
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...