The Cold Submission (Paul Adkin)
Dear Mr Collector,
I am sending you this unsolicited package containing my latest work, with the hope that you will deem it worthy for display in your museum.
That you will I have very little doubt for I have been following your personal career with great interest and I think we have very much in common. I admire your initiative and your extremist art-culture philosophy greatly, and I know that the erection of your private museum will play a tremendous role in the permanent establishment of radical art in this conservative country. Perhaps one day its opening will be regarded amongst the most significant events in our history, along side Eureka, the Ned Kelly hanging, the massacre at Gallipoli, and the Lindy Chamberlain case.
But more than anything I was inspired by what you have been saying in your interviews about your passion for contemporary art and your conviction for opening up the intellectual debate that lies around it. Your idea that all art is about ‘either sex or a fear of dying’, or about a combination of the two, opened my eyes to the very depths of my own being. In those words you have described my motives in a nutshell.
I am a combination artist. When I create I do so in a sympathetic-magical way, for in a sense I create destruction so that I myself may achieve immortality and my passion is for destruction manifested through the basically always violent act of love. When you open the package you will see exactly what I mean.
You will be the first person, beside myself, to see any of this. Of course that is significant.
The first thing you will notice in the sculpture is its use of natural forms. Touch the hair, it is real, real human hair. And no, I didn’t get it from a barber-shop floor. There are long strands and some very short strands. The long strands you can stroke, the shorter ones have been used as a substitute for paint, having been glued on with PVC and then lacquered. Of course they are just clippings. Yes, it is pubic hair. I clipped it myself from around her vulva. I was very fond of her and lived with her for a week after I picked her up hitch-hiking. The brown hair is also feminine. I took her home from school one day. The blond hair is from a man. Waxed, or laser dilapidated he was, no body hair at all below the Adam’s apple. I had sex with him as well and quite enjoyed it, though I don’t practice homosexuality usually. He solicited me under a streetlamp in the park.
I spent a lot of time concentrating on the gravity of the piece. Although each piece is connected by impaling them and traversing them with wire, the floating feeling and its altitude are achieved through a complicated balancing act, although some of the body parts had to be reinforced at their connecting seams with superglue.
I have all the names of my contributors and if you need those names to be revealed for copyright reasons they will be provided. There are photos and video recordings of the entire work in progress and I can make them available if you believe that it will help public comprehension of the work. It was a messy process, but then all art is a messy process, isn’t it? I also made a record of all the dates and precise times that the work I did on each subject took place. I will be quite happy to pass all these or any other technical details to you.
The intellectual form and philosophical system that was applied will also be of great interest to your visitors. All in all there are twenty-one different body parts in the exhibition, chosen from an esoteric perspective. Twenty-one is the number of Major Arcana cards in the Tarot set, and so of course I am talking about climbing the tree of life, the tree of experience, through sex and death. Each collaborator thus represents a rung on the golden ladder. The little school-girl represents innocence and The Fool in the Tarot. I enjoyed working with her immensely and I am thinking of doing a special theme on children and submitting it to UNICEF to hang in the United Nations building. Children and education, such a violent theme. Sex and the fear of death is so ingrained in our education system.
The real positivism in the work will be found in Section VI of the model, the part that is labelled The Lovers. They were twins. A boy and a girl. They were the only two I didn’t have sex with, but they have been captured on video making love to each other.
In all my work you will find a true commitment to contemporary art, its unabashed extremism and its tremendous conviction. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that our role is to shape society by revealing all of its ridiculous limitations and pathetic fragility. My work is designed to help the public overcome its fear of dying, and its fear of sex. Yes, I know you’ve never mentioned a fear of sex, but a fear of dying is innately linked to a fear of sex, isn’t it? Through this work I have come to terms with these crippling phobias in my own life. I want it to be seen as a kind of healing for our own perverted society with all its hang-ups and hypocrisy. Art is such a cleansing force. So necessary. But I don’t need to tell you these things.
Well, I’ll leave you now to open the package and enjoy the masterpiece I have prepared for you. It is dedicated to you, Mr Collector, with all my love (and hate).
I hope you enjoy inspecting it as much as I did making it.