After visiting Bailey’s Stardust Exhibition at the National Gallery I was most inspired by his ‘Found Objects’. This was a small but for me significant part of the exhibition. Significant as I have read quite a bit on Bailey and studied his photographic work and had no idea that he worked with taxidermy for some of his sculptures outside of Skulls.
When researching online I cannot find more than a sentence discussing these small and delicate pieces. My most favourite piece was one of a dead Robin resting peacefully in a rocking-chair and encased in a small box.
A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.
– William Blake
Although the pieces are part of Bailey’s later work, this type of nod to nature and taxidermy can be found in one of his earlier and more famous fashion images:
Juxtaposing movement with the taxidermy could work conceptually. Whilst death brings the stillness to the object – using movement could work to show life – and therefore the circle of life, the beginning and the end.