A private commission based around my forgery of the painting 'Questioning Children' 1948, by Karel Appel.

 

Invited to make a new work for the home of two architects I devised a project that asked the question "What object would you like to own but know that, for whatever reason, you never will? Whatever it is I will remake it for you".

 

The question prompted a long negotiation as we discussed the various potential outcomes, whittling a long list of options - literary first editions, prototypes, photographs, designer objects - down to the final selection. They finally chose the Karel Appel piece as a poster for this work had always been in one of their uncles homes when they would visit as a child.

 

Once the object had been chosen I went back to the studio to work out how I could reproduce this assemblage of found wood and broadly applied oil paint. Deciding to aim for a purely visual recreation I took the model maker's approach and used a scalpel, balsa wood, small tins of enamel paint and fine brushes to exactly replicate every shape, crack, drip and splatter.

 

(Above: After I posed the question they initially replied with a shortlist of objects to replicate written on an old phone bill envelope. As it had been with us throughout the process I decided to use my newly honed replication skills to copy it too, crafting a scale version out of cartridge paper with a scalpel, exactly copying the envelope's interrior pattern and their handwriting in coloured pencil.)

 

The original 'Questioning Children', Karel Appel, 1948.

Gouache on found wood, 83cm x 60cm

© Collection Centre Pompidou

Copyright Barry Sykes 2018. All Rights Reserved

 

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