Bobby Baker, Box Story

Review in Issue 13-3 | Autumn 2001

The time has come to talk of many things – not shoes or ships or sealing wax but cornflakes, perms and burning mattresses; jelly fights and sugar sculptures. Box Story is the final piece in a series commissioned over ten years by LIFT. I’d missed all of Bobby Baker’s previous Daily Life investigations of shopping, housework and raising children – too busy shopping, doing housework and raising children – but so glad I finally made it to the party.

If only all performance art were like this: touching, heroic, revealing, comic, tragic, optimistic, melancholic… A whole life is recreated, distilled, processed and packaged with a rare power and beauty: her father’s death, her child’s thwarted hopes and dreams, her desire to both fit in and rebel. Her unique personal experience and universal human experience are both represented in the consumer goods strewn across the floor, mapping the world. A washing powder ozone layer, a rainstorm of orange juice, a mustard desert island and chocolate people.

‘What a terrible mess,’ she says, looking down on her ephemeral sculpture. This being a still-consecrated church, this could be viewed as desecration but it isn’t, it’s celebration. A communion, a thanksgiving, a benediction. We share her joy her pain, her awareness of the extraordinariness of ordinary everyday life. Artist, mother, daughter, wife – life, the universe and all that. Box Story is a perfectly packaged piece of art.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-3
p. 27