Building on blood and shit (and what a week!)

I’m feeling really embattled at the moment. Dad had a fall in the middle of the night on Sunday and was back in hospital, and then back to the rehab unit, and I’ve got my pacemaker operation this Friday. So I’ve been desperately trying to distract myself from the harsh realities of life at the moment and submerge into anything that takes me away from it. Roll on Virtual Reality.

But I have been continuing to make physical work and here I wanted to continue with the shift in emphasis and practice that led to last week’s work on simulacrum of bodily ejections (blood and shit) and so turned my attention to 1) incontinence and equipment to manage it and 2) some of the risks and lack of control I have over my body. The piece is larger – 36cm square – because it includes a urine bag and they are quite big. So the idea was to create an obvious facsimile of the issues.

I’ve used similar materials to before but in quite a different way.

The process Stage 1

  • Incontinence sheet
  • Layered with black paint and left to dry to give the sheet some stiffness
  • Then blue paint – to give it bulk and an obvious artistic rather than real value
  • Small sections and items glued to it and covered in green paint – to give it bulk
  • Then I ripped the items off to give it more depth

I then covered the whole thing in small dressings that were glued on and left to dry – again to give it depth, rigidity, bulk and texture.


I then placed red paint on some of the small sheets in a way that is similar to how they look when I have bled and then glued a couple more dressings onto the sheet and left it all to dry for a day.

The result in a heavy stiff incontinence sheet the feels loaded with blood and an item that looks good. Chaotic but good.

The process – stage 2
I then began experimenting with the placing and gluing of various items I use to manage incontinence such as leg bags, sheaths, suppositories, gloves, and enemas on the sheet. This below shows how the piece was taking shape.


You will see that I have given it a rather classic form and used bright yellow paint to represent urine in the bag. I decided to include a blue 3mg pack of Warfarin tablets to signal the issue of bleeding within the piece. All the items are glued in place so the piece can be hung.

At this stage the sculpture lacked a sense of threat and was a little too static: it was almost too bright and happy. So I continued to work and found that my moving the suppositories right a little gave the piece a more dynamic evocation and then I partially covered these with a thick dark brown acrylic paint. Here, below, is the result.


I am pleased with this. The piece contrasts the bright colours and form with the subject matter in a way that is both upbeat and threatening. It’s a bit like my version of the sublime. (But as with other physical pieces I think this looks better up close and life-size).

What do you think?


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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