Revisiting my ‘Rendition’ figures

Posted on Tuesday May 29, 2012

While up in Massachusetts, I tracked down some of the work that I’d left behind in Holyoke. Some of my pieces found themselves down at the house of Dean Nimmer, the artist at whose home I’d stayed. One of my ‘Stuffed Figures’ series had clambered up onto a wall at Paper City Studios for a recent group show (hey, does that mean I can claim ‘internationally shown’ on my CV? Aw, c’mon man, every artist has to make the best of his/her story.).

But what I really wanted to know was, what had happened to the ‘Rendition’ series figures that I’d left to the elements on a deserted demolition site not far from my studio? Readers may recall that these figures, which referenced the US’s practice of ‘rendering’ suspected terrorists to other countries for interrogation that might be beyond what could be done in the US itself, had emerged from my consciousness after making the more benign ‘Stuffed Figures’ series.

The good news is that two of the three figures left on the demolition site had ‘survived’ the worst that a snowy US winter and warm spring had thrown at them.  I don’t know what had happened to the third figure – maybe it had been ‘liberated’ by persons unknown, maybe it had escaped detention (perhaps by jumping onto a freight train on the siding just above), maybe it had succumbed and was decaying in the undergrowth somewhere nearby, or in an unmarked grave.

One of the survivors – beaten but unbowed

The ‘survivors’ showed the scars of their continued travails. One was lying on his back, feet in the air, and the other was on his face in the dirt, and looked like he’d been there some time. Some of the stuffing had been knocked out of them. I brushed them off, and moved them down into a sheltered tunnel-entrance area, but they said that reminded them too much of prison, so I brought them back out and placed them in a sunny corner where they can see the world for a while yet.

Hanging out together in a sunny corner

Spare a thought for the people these figures represent. There are far too many of them in today’s world.