MERRY GO WORLD
Merry-Go-World is the third of Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre’s touring sets. The first touring set, Traveling Circus, was exhibited in Inverness in 2006 and the second, Gothic Kinetic, in 2011. Both of them have travelled the world far and wide. Merry-Go-World is just beginning its journey and its very subject is ‘the world going round’.
This set began spontaneously and intuitively – as everything does with Eduard Bersudsky – with the making of the little kinemat Merry-Go-Round in 2010, when Sharmanka first settled in to Trongate 103 in Glasgow. Over the years this machine spawned others that are small but global in their scope – reflecting the artist’s travels with Sharmanka exhibitions and also by himself without them, and the increasing number of international visitors coming to Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre in Glasgow.
Merry-Go-World is, once again, a small universe made of old junk, household machinery, carved figures, electrical motors, music, light and shadow plays. But these are no longer quite so dark and sad as in his earlier work. The old bits of scrap which, 20 years ago, Eduard would pick up for nothing out of skips and back alleys, have now become valuable collectors’ items, selling for substantial sums on eBay to decorate houses and expensive restaurants. The Merry-Go-World machines reflect this new feeling for nostalgia and admiration for anything that’s old and crafted. They have a playful, joyous ring.
Their feeling of benevolence, however, goes deeper than that. The endless repetitions of life are now seen not so much as a grotesque parody about the futility of everything. These reflections have a quieter, happier mood. Our love of the past, of old books and paintings, ancient rituals and beliefs, walking through the antique quarters of modern cities, even our own memories of our childhood – these are all soothing antidotes to the helter-skelter of contemporary life. They slow the frenetic speed of technological change with a beautiful dance of their own.
MERRY GO ROUND
Human-like goats, monkeys, bears and foxes happily ride around wheels and drums and all the world merrily joins in.
Everything comes round again.
The eccentric gentleman with a pipe in his mouth – and a bird in the pipe! – has lots of stories to write on the ancient typewriter.
“ Row on, Mole, row! For the music and the call must be for us.”
– The Wind in the Willows
The mangle, the carpet cleaner and the old Singer sewing machine join the dance of mindful housekeeping.
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
The movements of gentlemen in high hats are careful and precise – the traditional art of cloth-making demands their full attention if grave consequences are to be avoided!
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
– Macbeth: Act 4, Scene 1
Inspired by the five-hundred-years-old San Marco Clock Tower – with its ancient bell- ringers – and by the latticed windows of The Bridge of Sighs.
The cyclist, with his dog in the basket, pedals along the canals surrounded by spires and tall houses with winches. He passes the draw-bridge graced with swans and the red lights are reflected in the black waters.
The real one, or just a hobby horse?
This one takes off with a jangling of bells and a crow sitting on top.
The whole factory is hard at work, toiling to make the bellows blow enough air to move the butterfly.
The dark forces of war, death and destruction are always round the corner. A rusty armoured tank, piloted by a ghastly crew of skeletal cadavers, relentlessly runs on the tracks – menacing everybody alive.
Huge carp circle in the green pond with its hunchback bridge, inside the bamboo tea-house with miniature stone gardens. Foxes, meanwhile, ring the bell with the wooden beam, taking the human prayers to a silent Buddha.
MERRY GO WORLD HAS VISITED…
2016 – Thurso Library, Scotland
2015 – Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, Inverness, Scotland