A new one-off piece from Paul Spooner. Height 40cm
“If you want to say something without actually saying it, an allegory is a handy device. There is a very famous one, painted by Bronzino, in the National Gallery, London. There’s little doubt that the central figure represents Venus and that the little chap who is kissing her lips while tweaking one of her nipples is Cupid. Other figures surrounding this pair have been the subjects of different interpretations, including one in a medical journal claiming that it’s all about syphilis; a disease that, when the painting was made, had recently come over from South America. Why Cosimo de’ Medici should want to send this message to Francis l of France as a gift isn’t known. Other people think it’s about less frightening aspects of fornication.
Operatives in our Automaton Factory sometimes indulge in fits of Outsider Art. This usually happens when the management has been slow to think up a proper design for a product. Enigmatic woodcarvings, bristling with figures that John Berger would undoubtedly classify as ‘naked’ rather than ‘nude’, issue from the factory in slack times, usually after the management has barely recovered from a biting-off to chewing misjudgement. Although mildly mechanical, these things rarely satisfy the true enthusiast who lusts after many more whirring wheels and straining sprockets. It’s possible though, that mildly mechanical outsider art is the next Big Thing. The stick-in-the-mud management at P. Spooner’s Garden Factory won’t be laughing then.
Interestingly, the spring that returns the doors to their closed positions is cut from a surveyor’s steel tape measure once belonging to J.J. Spooner (1894-1980). As it was able to measure distances up to 33 feet, there is still some left.”