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  • Five Artists Reflect on their Waning Powers. Paul Spooner, 1983, limewood, bamboo, Baltic pine, beech, plywood, acrylic paint, steel and brass. Crafts Council Collection, W49. Photo: Todd-White Art Photography

Five Artists Reflect on Their Waning Powers by Paul Spooner

Chosen by Laura Bishop, Volunteer Curator at Wolverhampton Art Gallery

We ask makers, curators, designers, creative practitioners and the Crafts Council team to select their favourite object from the Crafts Council Collection and to tell us why.

I love the fact that this sculpture draws on the figure of the artist, capturing different expressions and gestures from each of the five characters, as we are able to simultaneously see their actions and the working mechanics underneath.

This moving mechanical sculpture features in the Craft Council’s A Curious Turn exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, in association with Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. The exhibition includes works by Rowland Emett, Keith Newstead and Paul Spooner, who use movement to bring these humorous sculptures to life. A Curious Turn allows visitors to interact and engage with the objects.

Five Artists Reflect on Their Waning Powers depicts Spooner’s satire and extraordinary attention to detail as an artist and a mechanic. In contrast to the majority of works in the exhibition, Spooner’s sculpture reflects a folk-art craft style through his hand-carving wood skills. The sculpture tells a story to the visitor as each artist at the wooden desk performs a different action at the push of a button. The artists can be seen yawning and stirring their coffee, smoking a cigarette and correcting their mistakes. The mechanics are exposed beneath the artist’s bench, allowing visitors to view up close the workings of the sculpture. Spooner has managed to capture and portray individual personalities to each of the figures. 

Five Artists Reflect on Their Waning Powers is part of Crafts Council exhibition, A Curious Turn, showing at Wolverhampton Art Gallery until 21 May 2017

View this object in the Collections Online