BACON MASK REDUX

bacon mask

BACON MASK 11/09/2011

I have transferred the bacon mask to a glass storage
jar as the original plastic sweet jar had a small split in it.
The wire mesh that I had used to support the mask
had dissolved in the formaldehyde but I found that the
bacon itself had become quite rigid and no longer in need of support.

The mask is now 10 years old and it is 8 years since it became internationally
famous as reported in the original Guardian article below.

Bacon mask is a concept too far for thief

David Ward
The Guardian, Tuesday 19 August 2003 11.38 BST

bacon mask
Morrison: ‘It’s obviously a very macabre piece of work, but I never expected it to get this reaction.’ Photo: PA

If only an artist with a video camera had been labouring in Liverpool at the time, the result could have turned up in Tate Modern as a conceptual work about a conceptual work inspired by conceptual work.

The video might have been hailed as a biting comment on the attitude of authority to art.

Or, more likely, as one of the dottiest records of police activity since the Keystone Kops.

It would have shown a posse of Merseyside’s finest officers armed with a warrant and bursting into the Wavertree flat of local artist Richard Morrison, who is a fan of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst and describes himself as a naive conceptualist.

They had been alerted by a public-spirited burglar who, after breaking into Mr Morrison’s flat and stealing hundreds of pounds’ worth of electronic items, had fled in terror when he stumbled on what he thought was a human head floating in a large jar.

He was so frightened that he ran home to confess all his crimes to his mother.

When later picked up on another matter, the burglar confided his fears to detectives, who sent the boys round to kick Mr Morrison’s front door down. Again.

There they found the evidence that had sent shivers down the spine of the intruder: a large jar with a head in it.

But not a human head; more of a mask – a wire frame moulded on Mr Morrison’s own face.

And covered in bacon. And dunked in formaldehyde.

“It’s obviously a very macabre piece of work, but I never expected it to get this reaction,” said Mr Morrison yesterday.

“I made the mask when I was on an art foundation course two years ago. It just seemed like an interesting concept. I was quite proud of the result, although it’s sagging a bit now.”

The piece was intended to be a comment on the folly of consumerism.

Merseyside police said they had to act on what was clearly “a very serious allegation” but have now apologised to Mr Morrison and arranged to give him a new front door.

“It would have been a dereliction of duty if we had not followed up this allegation,” said Chief Inspector Stephen Naylor. “It was vitally important that we investigated.”

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