Handmade by Computers

Terrible Comfort updates and thinks

Puppets out in the world of art

I’ve found puppets in education, obviously, and puppets in mental health and I’m currently focused on trying to find artists who build puppets. It seems blindingly obvious to me that puppets are these incredible works of 3d art/craft and yet no one seems to have noticed.

So at the moment, my artist list runs to four.

There’s a photo somewhere of Frida Kahlo performing marionettes for a child. I haven;t been able to find it yet, but it was mentioned in a book I’m reading (The Puppet Show by Ingrid Schaffner and Carin Kuoni. I’ll review it once I’ve finished reading it). Interestingly enough if you do a search of “frida kahlo puppet” you find heaps of people out there that have made puppets or dolls of Kahlo. Again it’s a example of fans making dolls and puppets out of the things they adore. Weird and worth looking into it further… But I digress.

IN that same book it talks about one of Jackson Pollack’s paintings has a figure cut out of it, he made a marionette and then cut a covering for it out of the painting. You can see a copy here.

There’s also Paul Klee, who made around 50 hand puppets for his son Felix over about a 9 year period, also Klee never thought of them as art and never included them in any catalog of his work. There’s a photo from the exhibition here and you can see the self portrait puppet Klee made here.

And I went to the Mirka Mora exhibition at Heide which had a couple of newspaper articles included and one mentioned her love of dolls and puppets. It’s very hard to find anything else about it on the net though. Her love of dolls is mentioned as fact but I can’t find interviews with her or anything talking about either. But then I find this site saying “For the 1988 Bicentennial festivities at the Sydney opera House, she designed 85 five-foot-high puppets on plywood, all painted with oil for the opera, “Bennelong,” about the Aboriginal man of the same name who befriended Captain Phillip” . I can’t find any photos of them though. However I did find this gorgeous photo of her clutching dolls she made in her studio with more behind her. I suspect since I can’t find anything else that she didn’t make a lot of puppets as her work, but nice to know she did make some.

That’s my list so far. But I look forward to adding to it further. Love the detective work!


  terrible COMFORT wrote @

Hilary Talbot reminded me on Twitter of Alexander Calder. She has written an excellent post on his work at her blog, Spirits Dancing. You can find the post here: http://spiritsdancing.com/sdblog/2006/08/15/calders-circus/

  terrible COMFORT wrote @

And Hilary came back with another artist, Joan Miró. She has a post about the puppet show created here: http://spiritsdancing.com/sdblog/2006/05/31/merma-never-dies/

Hilary is my new puppet artist expert

  terrible COMFORT wrote @

The amazing guys at NGV’s Twitter account have said ” Well, Ron Mueck once made puppets for Jim Henson…” which is awesome and I didn’t know. Thank you NGV!

I’ve done some research and found that Ron Mueck started life as a puppet maker and puppeteer. He worked with Jim Henson (for 9 years according to IMBD) including on Labyrinth.

On flickr I found this paragraph “As a child, Ron Mueck experimented with puppetry and model making, influenced by his parents’ work as toymakers. Failing selection to art school, Mueck began to work as a window-dresser. Within a few years he progressed to making and operating puppet animals for children’s television programs. In the mid 1980s he travelled to America, where he worked on The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, before settling in London.” http://www.flickr.com/photos/kymlardner/5097373/

Awesome job, thanks again NGV!

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