HORN, Tim, 1964
Glass slipper (Ugly Blister), 2001
lead crystal, nikel-plated bronze, Easter egg foil, silicon
51.0 cm x 72.0 cm x 33.0 cm
Q: Tell me about Glass slipper (Ugly blister), how have you developed this work?
A: What got me thinking about the Cinderella theme was my mother, who had been reading a feminist deconstruction of fairy tales, one of which was the Cinderella myth. It struck me that there seemed certain parallels between what I had observed in my mother and sister's behaviour and my own behaviour, and about how we related to men - the idea that without a prince your life isn't complete. So making this work was a way of examining what I perceive to be that behaviour and constructing objects to illustrate that dynamic.
What I wanted to do was rewrite that Cinderella story from a queer perspective informed by my experience. I wanted to take the story, tear it up and cut and paste it back together so that the characters weren't squeaky clean and predictable. And add a layer of subversive content within that too.
It's also a bit dark and sinister; the humour is dark. Titles provide an opportunity to add a bit of a flip side to the work. The image is opulent and seductive but I really wanted the title to suggest a counter-quality, something a bit barbed and submerged, throwing the object into another context. That's part of a dynamic I've been thinking about in my work for a long time, the notions of attraction and repulsion. I'm interested in the polarities and finding the point at where the beautiful becomes the grotesque and vice versa.
Q: I'm interested in your use of materials. Would you explain how Glass slipper (Ugly blister) was constructed?
A: The shape of the shoe came from an eighteenth-century engraving, the pattern came from eighteenth-century jewellery. I'd used the jewellery pattern in an earlier work in 1998, so I blew the pattern up bigger still, made the skeleton of the shoe in cardboard and cut and pasted the pattern onto the shoe. I then went about making a wax armature, which was cast in bronze and then started to make the glass components of cast crystal to fit the shoe. The glass forms were made in wax, then I took a plaster mould from those and the moulds were packed with crystal and then fired in a kiln. I used clear crystal and have backed the crystal with coloured Easter egg foil. Foiling of non-precious stones was an eighteenth-century technique. The foil is all the same colour, but colour variation depends on the angle of the foil. Prior to making this work I'd never consciously set out to alter the colour of something or even give it colour, and only used the colour inherent in a material. I was concerned with making an object of visual complexity, concerned with how light hits it and that element of visual excitement.
Timothy Horn in conversation with Beatrice Gralton, September 2001
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