Rag and Bone with Blanket

2007
Bronze

This painted bronze sculpture, commissioned by Turner Contemporary in 2007, is a distorted depiction of Beatrix Potter’s famous childhood character Mr Tod. The famous fox appears cold and downtrodden peering through the worn out blankets in which he is shrouded. There is of course a humorous irony in the disenchanting of this childhood idol but there is also an arresting sadness surrounding the character’s demise. Rag and Bone with Blanket is from a series of works, which also feature Potter’s other characters Mr. Brock, rifling through a public dustbin and Mrs Tiggy Winkle similarly dishevelled, pushing an old shopping trolly burdened with bags. Before now these much-loved characters have rested safely in our imagination uncontaminated by the pitfalls of capitalist modernity. Here, however, Ford thrusts these innocent creatures into the realism of contemporary poverty. By manipulating these sweet provincial characters, Laura Ford manages to reflect back to us the peculiarity of social hierarchy, unsettling economy of charity and the fragility of security and success.

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About The Artist

Laura Ford works with soft fabrics, materials, found objects and bronze to create obstensibly sweet depictions of fantastical characters, such as animals wearing clothes and little girls from clichéd fairy-tales. Ford overrides any notion of sentimentality by placing her sculptural characters in contentious and sometimes menacing situations, such as homelessness, despondency and fear. Through an acute observation of the human condition Ford is able to create works which possess uncanny undertones and address the unease and violence of socio-political power struggles. She achieves this by blurring the line of the sweet, safe and familiar world of children with the realist and cynical world of adulthood. Her anthropormorphic characters often appear lost in a nightmarish world of reality; as if they have suddenly landed without prior warning of the difficulties of contemporary capitalist existence. Ford is expert at conveying the societal imposition of the problematic passage from innocence to adult experience.

‘Rag and Bone with Blanket’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

Laura Ford

Born: 1961

Other Artworks by Laura Ford at CASS

1996

Nature Girls

Laura Ford's work often considers the effect of sculpture in a landscape. Stump Girl is Laura's attempt to make a sculpt…