Endeavour: Cannon Dredged from the First Wreck of the Ship of Fools

1995
Bronze
200 x 440 x 250 cm
Edition of 1

This is the tenth sculpture in Woodrow’s series devoted to the theme The Ship of Fools, a commentary on the foolishness of mankind, wrapped in wry humour. Endeavour comprises uncomfortably penetrating insights into human nature, particularly, mankind’s seeming inability to learn from experience. At first sight, the bronze cannon looks real and convincing, a traditional weapon of war resembling the type of memorial to war one might see outside a public institution. On closer inspection, the sculpture reveals combinations of absurd imagery, highlighting the idiocy of mankind. The cannon balls are casts of globes. The gun– barrel is the trunk of a tree, sprouting a leafy growth. The trunk is supported by a crouching ‘stick’ man with a dog’s head, biting itself on the arm, hindering its own progress—an act of futility. In endowing the figure with obvious male genitalia, Woodrow here implies warfare’s link to masculinity.

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About The Artist

Bill Woodrow’s early work was made from materials found in dumps, used car lots and scrap yards, partially embedded in plaster and appearing as if they had been excavated. He went on to use large consumer goods, such as refrigerators and cars, cutting the sheet metal and allowing the original structure to remain identifiable, with the cut out attached to the original form. His later compositional works sought to arrange unrelated objects together, altering them in the process and creating new suggestions of meaning. Woodrow achieves this by disassembling familiar, everyday objects in order to consequently reassemble them into new compositional contexts often to surrealistic and uncanny effect.

‘Endeavour: Cannon Dredged from the First Wreck of the Ship of Fools’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

Bill Woodrow

Born: 1948

Other Artworks by Bill Woodrow at CASS

2000

Regardless of History

Bill Woodrow's sculpture Regardless of History was originally installed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2000…

2003

Sitting on History

Sitting on History was proposed in response to a commission first discussed in 1990 and to Woodrow’s Tate Gallery exhibi…

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