SEAN HENRY: FOLLY (THE OTHER SELF)
I found there was something really appealing about this work. It made me want to go up and interact with it. The figures are so life like in features, but out of proportion, they are bigger than they should be, it makes it quite uncomfortable, slightly intimidating, or belittling. The “folly” is not what you would think of as a folly. It is modern, minimal, constructed, and personal.
I felt like I was in a time with this person, going through a day, or a period of anxiety, or stress, unable to sleep or stay still. It made me feel this person had moved around the room trying to settle. Here are a few shots of my Mum being a sport and posing in some other options for the figures position.
This work functions well in the outdoor space. It gives the idea of being alone in the woods with your thoughts, rather than in a sterile gallery space that, for me, would be more about clinical processing of thoughts; or in an urban environment, that would be about being alone amongst people/others.
What do you think?
What the gallery website has to say:
A folly is usually a decorative building or structure with no discernable use or explicit raison d’être. Its place in our utilitarian world is ambiguous, often used during the latter part of the Twentieth century as places for contemplation and leisure. In Henry’s ‘Folly’ we are presented with a seemingly exposed scene depicting aspects of an anonymous man’s daily life.
The viewer becomes the voyeur in this slightly uncomfortable exchange of lived realities. Much of Sean Henry’s work extorts notions of scale and proportion in order to confuse and displace the viewer, forcing them to become unsure of who or what is the right size.
As Tom Flynn describes in his book about the artist: “The viewer is invited to contemplate the significance of the life of this unknown man surrounded by his quotidian objects.” The seemingly antiquated place of the folly is rediscovered and re-interpreted through Henry’s postmodern interpretation of reality and reflection.”