|The Weight of Roses - Box Construction 2005|
The creation of this box took place during a very difficult time in my forties when I'd stopped dancing and was facing the unknown. Because of the many things I learned about myself while building this box, it's the piece I consider to be the most personally significant...if not the strangest.
There wasn't a story; I simply wanted to create a room to house this Commedia dell'arte-inspired figure I'd made years before. I like to work in an unplanned way leaving room for magical accidents to take place and this piece didn't disappoint: it is filled with surprising associations - mostly of a personal nature. The most notable, or magical, came after I'd completed the piece but had yet to attach the frame. I felt it needed three oranges scattered on the floor as if the figure had been juggling in an earlier act. I don't know why I chose oranges, maybe they just seemed the perfect shot of color. Strangely, I happened to have some small oranges that I'd made for another piece I'd been working on. Years after I'd finished this box I discovered that there was a 1761 Commedia dell'arte play by Gozzi titled, "The Three Oranges" - of which the principle scene held further associations that mirrored my feelings at the time:
Tartaglia, after recovering from a long fit of melancholy, goes in quest of the three oranges preserved in the castle of the fairy Creonta. The fairy summons her dog, and tells him to "Go, bite the thief who stole my oranges:" but the dog replies: "Why should I bite him? He gave me plenty to eat, while you have kept me here for months and years, dying of hunger." The fairy then turns to the rope at the well: "Rope, bind the theif who stole my oranges." But the rope answers: "Why should I bind him who hung me in the sun to dry, while you have left me for months and years to moulder in a corner?" Finally, the fairy bids the iron gate of the castle to "crush the thief who stole my oranges." But, says the gate: "Why should I crush him who has oiled me, while you have left me so long to rust?"
|Box is covered with black fabric that drapes like stage curtains.|
|Antique Jet Bead Tassels|
|A laughing Pierrot holds an escutcheon announcing the name of the acte|
|French Ebony Cabinet - Windsor Castle|
The decor of the room is based on this theater stage set inside an elaborate French ebony cabinet that is in the state apartments in Windsor Castle. Building mine was extremely problematic for me and it's only through sheer determination that I was able to do it at all. Besides the fact that some of the pieces of wood I was using were not equal in size but needed to look as if they were (any others would have changed the feel of the piece) I discovered that I had some sort of spatial difficulty which meant that I had to make a maquette first in paper and cardboard in order to grasp what it was I needed. My brain was often tied in knots...total confusion.
'The Confessions' by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the most influential thinkers of the 18th century, was on my desk. I picked it up and came across three pages in Book Three where he describes the difficulties he experienced while trying to write, converse, or express ideas. I was flabbergasted. Everything he described I had felt, too...especially while working on this piece.
In the passage I put on the back of the box he uses the chaos of a backstage scene at the opera to describe what goes on in his head when he writes and how eventually "all falls into place" and "the long tumult is succeeded by a delightful spectacle."
|Rousseau's grave in the Pantheon. Paris|
Photos (c) C. Andrako 2008, 2011 All Rights Reserved. Photo of Rousseau's grave from Wiki. Photo of desk from the book, Extraordinary Furniture, by David Linley, Harry N. Abrams, publisher