På senare tid har jag fått upp intresset för moderna konstmedaljer. Jag är medlem i British Art Medal Society (BAMS) och har haft personlig kontakt med en av de mera framträdande brittiska medaljkonstnärerna - Ron Dutton.
"Cuckoo Spite" av Mary Gregoriy, 2009:
‘The medal is a medal for Spring. It has a curly almost DNA-like nest on the obverse with one large cuckoo egg in it and a few loose feathers floating free. The reverse shows a little foetal bird lying dead on the path, but it is no ordinary bird because it also has moth wings growing from its back and instead of bird wings it has little human hands lying across its tiny breast. A lot of my work is becoming increasingly chimerical and anthropomorphic in nature. I am not sure why but I think it is because in my head all the nature themes get mixed up and things like genetic modification are issues that trouble me in certain ways – I work subconsciously sometimes but I am certain that these things feed into my work. I anthropomorphise because I think that there is such a strong link between nature and humans even though some humans like to think they are somehow above and unlinked to nature. Yet we are nature – are we not? A part of the world and the creatures that inhabit it. It is a rather sad little medal but, as we all know, nature is red in tooth and claw and cuckoos are only following their own nature.’
"I Count Goats" av Linda Crook, 2008:
I count Goats is the third medal by the artist to be issued by BAMS. She writes that the medal ‘is a reflection on insomnia. I try counting sheep, but they keep jumping around, and they aren’t sheep at all but goats!’
"The Lizards Tale" av Philip Booth, 2010:
About his BAMS medal the artist writes: ‘The two-part format for this medal is one which I have been exploring for a number of years. It is a format that I have found interesting for its flexibility and its potential for creating surprise, contrast and unexpected relationships. It also has a greater degree of observer participation in the way it is seen.
‘Inspiration for the motif of this medal came from a visit to southern Italy last year. In the place we stayed, the profusion of lizards emerging from tiny holes and crevasses was both astonishing and intriguing. As an idea began to form, so did the Haiku which is to be found on the inside face of the front disc and it was this which came to drive the development of the idea. Using four faces, I sought to evoke resonances and responses in a non-linear way, in much the same way as a Haiku does. The “misspelling” of Tale is deliberate.’
"Minotaur" av Phoebe Stannard, 2011:
The artist writes: ‘Minotaur is one of a series of three medals inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Myth and legend are distillations of complex meaning and emotion and provide a compendium of beautiful characters to reason with. I was particularly touched by a version of the myth where the Minotaur dreams, and in his dreams is able to talk, but when he wakes cannot express himself anymore. This Minotaur embodies everyone’s occasional groping failure to communicate and the inarticulate limits to brute strength. I think that most people, if provoked and trapped, easily revert back to their animal nature. I pity the Minotaur, trapped in the labyrinth. He is caged and misunderstood, but also tied to his own animal instincts. There is a ring through his nose and a rope that runs over to the back of the medal. As you turn the medal over in your hand, you realise that he is tied to his destiny, just as Theseus is by his golden thread, down which he will come through the labyrinth to slaughter the Minotaur. I think that humanity always tends to destroy what it cannot understand and what it feels threatened by, rather than trying to understand. We are more animal than we like to think.’
"Tears for Souvenirs" av Eamon Gray, 2006:
The artist writes about his BAMS medal, Tears for Souvenirs: ‘The concept for this medal is based on an old French game, a philosophy toy. The game dates from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. Originally made for adults, it eventually became a child’s favourite. The toy is basic, merely a round piece of card threaded through either edge with a piece of string. One side (the obverse) of the card depicts a small bird, the other (the reverse) a bird cage. The objective is to spin the card, using the string, to the desired speed, to create the illusion that the bird is trapped in the cage. ‘When the idea for the medal was conceived, I had been creating work dealing with, for me, the issue of lost youth. The medal seemed an ideal vehicle to convey such thoughts. In Tears for Souvenirs the bird, as a symbol of youth, has escaped, leaving only a feather in its place, a fleeting memory. Unlike the original toy, no matter how fast we turn the medal we cannot cage or trap time and youth. The cage door hangs open; youth has fled, as it will eventually escape us all. All that remain for us are the memories, the souvenirs of what was, what is lost to us.’
Den här medaljen betyder en hel del för mig personligen. Jag beställde den på kvällen innan min mamma dog och medaljens budskap kändes väldigt nära just då....
Nedan följer några av Ron Duttons medaljer. Han har ett starkt miljöengagemang och flera av hans medaljer har fåglar som tema.
Apple Tree Ladder
The Eternal Debt
Under våren 2013 har jag åter haft kontakt med Ron Dutton och fått möjlighet att
utöka min samling med några nya medaljer. Jag tycker det är oerhört värdefullt om
man kan få direktkontakt med en konstnär och få en inblick i hur denne eller
denna tänker i sitt skapande.
Denna medalj har titeln "The Bitter Spring". Ron säger så här: "The Bitter
Spring is taken from a poem by the English writer Gerald Manley Hopkins"
"Winter Tango Tangle" är titeln på den här medaljen. Jag tror att en av
orsakerna till att jag tycker så mycket om Rons medaljer är att de har
ett klassiskt sätt att bygga upp en bild. Som "gammal" fotograf sitter
det där i ryggmärgen.
Ganska oemotståndlig, eller hur? Ron säger så här om den:"I made it
early in my medal activity as a light hearted contribution to the
ongoing debate on the definition of a Medal. Something round which
sits comfortably in the hand with an image and inscription."
Medaljen finns även att beskåda på Kungliga Myntkabinettet så
Ron får väl sägas ha lyckats i sitt uppsåt att definiera vad en medalj är...