Take Good Care of My Baby
plaster, Jesmonite, pigment, baby lotion, foam2014
About the work
Take Good Care of My Baby is a sculpture made from plaster painted in baby pink, foam and baby lotion. In her description of the work, artist Holly Hendry explains that this work
...was made while thinking about our relationship with architecture – how we imbue emotions onto the places and spaces that we build, that in turn shape the way we live or move or feel.
The act of rubbing with baby lotion was connected to preserving the surface (sealing the plaster) in parallel with how we attempt to maintain our own bodies to try and keep them from ageing and changing.
The work formally borrows the architectural symbol of the column, particularly those of the Parthenon. It was made while researching restoration processes on these types of historical sites, where the restoration is made obvious and reversible, so that the site becomes a form of giant, three-dimensional puzzle.
When making the work, I was considering Vitruvian ideals which present the male body as the measure for all things space-related, giving the body a status of heightened mathematical and geometrical perfection. The work seeks to destabilise these ideas, championing the wonky aesthetic of its lumps and bumps and points of mis-match, while attempting to maintain an image of the whole.
The idea of ruin and preservation are important, which also came from looking at cities like Newcastle – where I was living at the time– where you can see how the city has been put back together and chunks of the old wall are used to build a corner café. I am interested in objects and buildings in progress of building or in ruins – points where you get to see the underneath and behind place and the weird ways that they’re clamped and braced, the backsides that you’re not supposed to see. I hope to create a tension of building up and crumbling away through the work, where the making is more important than the monument. In this sense, the romantic gesture of the picturesque ruin is combined with our associations from the materials – the chalky colour of marshmallow or Angel Delight perhaps recalls blancmange, or nipples and the body.
The work became about creating building blocks from the idea of building itself, making things behave like tiles or bricks that have a sense of multiple possibilities for configuration. These types of forms suggest a pattern and repeat process that is the poetic scope of architectural thinking, of making big incrementally. I was interested in tensions between material and form – making something that is just about at the limits for my capability to build it. I hope that the work references casts and moulds which call simultaneously to industry and architecture, engineering and sculpture. The idea of the mould and the cast hints at the repeat manufacturing, but the work undoes this, being made from a simple cardboard mould process which means every shape is individual.
Hendry’s current research addresses the idea of the ‘hole’ (literally, ‘wholes’, body holes, potholes, blackholes) as a marker of both absence and presence. Large-scale casting and moulding methods within her sculpture-making has led to a focus on the idea of the mould as a sculptural form - an absence which highlights the presence of its sculptural counterpart - and its relationship to the replication or the copy.
About the artist
Holly Hendry studied Fine Art at Slade School of Art (2009-2013) and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2016 since when she has exhibited her work frequently, including solo shows: 'Indifferent Deep' at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, (2019-20); 'The Dump is Full of Images' at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2019); and 'Deep Soil Thrombosis' at Lyon Biennale (2019-20). Recent group exhibitions that she has exhibited in include 'Beano: The Art of Breaking Rules' at Somerset House, London (2021); and 'Breaking The Mould, Sculpture by Women since 1945' (group show), An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition at Longside Gallery Wakefield (2020, touring to Walsall, Nottingham and Hull). Hendry has produced numerous public art commissions including 'Invertebrate', Waterfront’s Commission, England’s Creative Coast in partnership with De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea (2021); and 'Cenotaph' for the Liverpool Biennial, 2018. In 2014, Hendry was selected as the inaugural artist for the co-curated project, 'Art Block' at Selfridges’ London flagship store. The resulting installation, 'Phyllis', at nearly four-metres tall, featured rubble spoil from the construction of the new Duke Street Accessories Hall, referencing issues of waste and recycling. The work took its name from one of the digging machines which had to be abandoned underground after excavating tunnels for the London Crossrail dig.
Holly Hendry (1990 - )
- Take Good Care of My Baby
- plaster, Jesmonite, pigment, baby lotion, foam
- height: 126 cm; width: 135 cm; depth: 80 cm
- Purchased from the artist, with funds raised from print sales from the Robson Orr TenTen Award, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission, 2020
- The artist; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 25 March 2020
- GAC number