Years Later, 2008.
80 x 100 cm,
C-print on aluminium.
Ed. 5 + 2 a.p.
I was in a music class. The teacher lived in a strange world of his own filled with fairy-tales whose annual culmination was a festive concert in the celebration hall of a large school. The concert was always held in March; however, the preparations began already in the autumn. We practised the songs and performances long and hard. There were auditions for the key roles, the solo singers and dancers. We went around local shops and parents’ workplaces asking for lottery prizes. Then we went around the neighbourhood for weeks selling lottery tickets from door to door. Mothers baked cakes and buns to be sold during the event and gave away the prizes. Fathers carried things, built the sets and videoed the concerts.
For the concert the teacher used to build heads for characters from chicken wire and papier-mâché with the help of certain active parents. In the storage room there were the heads of eg ET, Popeye, Olga, Elliot the dragon, all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lucky Luke and the Dalton brothers, Tom and Jerry, Roger Rabbit, Goofy and Ali Baba. The teacher also had expensive rubber masks, imported from the US, which must be handled with special care. These masks included Elvis, Chuck Berry, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
The chicken wire head was heavy. It was tied very tightly under the armpits with broad ribbons. It was lined with foam cushioning. You couldn’t see outside at all and dancing was very clumsy. Often it was very difficult to keep the head upright and, when viewed later, the grand concerts looked like a peer support group meeting of depressed fairy-tale characters.