Martin Naylor

Discarded Sweater


Not on display

Martin Naylor 1944–2016
Woollen sweater, wooden pole, metal, glass with lipstick, paper and cigarette
Unconfirmed: 2184 × 2057 × 825 mm
Purchased 1997


The critic Richard Cork wrote about this work: 'The garment is pinned against the wall, arms outstretched in a crucified position to suggest a suffering too heavy to bear. It is a forlorn, scarecrow image which uses a scattered form of organisation to mirror the feelings of displacement and hopelessness that must have inspired it' ('Elements of Surprise', Evening Standard, London, 7 March 1974).

The main elements of this assemblage are a worn blue woollen sweater, a tall hand-carved wooden pole, a length of wire, a sheet of glass bearing a message written in lipstick, and a number of small lengths of steel wire bent into loops at their ends. The sweater is pinned against a back panel, its arms outstretched, the metal loops protruding from the garment in various places. The tip of the pole is positioned on the ground in front of the sweater, its opposite end resting on the garment. The glass panel with inscription is placed on the ground, to the right of the sweater, and rests against the wall. In common with other early works by Naylor, shadow plays an essential role in this piece.

Naylor's highly subjective works draw their subject matter from personal psychology and life experience. He has commented, 'I cannot separate by intellectual deftness, my life and work' (quoted in Martin Naylor, exhibition catalogue, Arts Council, p.29).

The Tate owns eight working drawings for this piece (Tate Gallery T07304-11).

Further reading:
Sandy Nairne and Nicholas Serota (eds.), British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century, exhibition catalogue, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 1981, p.225, reproduced p.228
Martin Naylor: Between Discipline and Desire, Selected works 1977-86, exhibition catalogue, Arts Council, London 1986, reproduced p.6

Terry Riggs
October 1997

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