Donna Mattila, 1998
Angus Bungay exhibits three pieces of sculpture; plaster heads on steel plinths which are about six feet in height. He has neglected or chosen to say nothing about his work, which is fine - I have a lot to say.
'confessional' is perhaps the most portentous and disturbing piece. The head is completely covered by irregular pieces of black leather attached by a myriad of carefully placed brass nails. Attached to this head by a series of uncomfortable braces and straps is a megaphone-like protuberance of leather and brass fittings, fanning out to accommodate an arched rattan-covered window - a picture of disquietude. Curious observers will look into this window to discover an expectant ear in this portable confessional. This must surely be a form of hell - this tortured, bound head carrying the physical and mental burden of confession. The confessee is simultaneously atoning for some terrible deed, and also providing consolation for the confessor. It is possibly a visual presentation of a grim future where, in a modern inferno, the punishment fits the crime. Bungay is a superb craftsperson who uses both new and recycled material with much attention to detail and the meaning. Black leather is suggestive of bikers, punks and tough guys whereas Bungay has used it in 'Confessional' as the fabric of traditional religious attire.
'discipline' is a head incised with markings and covered with blacking to create a graphic surface that looks like a Hogarth etching. The head wears a solemn expression, the eyes closed in concentration to perform this balancing act - the actual ponderous medical dictionary resting precariously on the head. This act is a portrayal of the perseverance required to balance the acquisition of knowledge, of the desire to form one's own opinions, and of the constrictions of quotidian life.
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