Clapping for Tinkerbell (2010)

Portfolio photo of boxed assemblage art by Frank Turek


This box is an upright rectangular block with the back half painted brick red and the front frame collaged with a sepia-toned photo of a woman standing in a white gown with a candelabra on her head. The frame of the box features an oval window. In the center foreground is a narrow, glass shelf with a toy plastic cow placed upon it. Directly behind the cow is a plastic toy torso of a man in a teal pullover extending a gun held in his right hand. Where the head of this torso would be is a card collaged with an etched illustration of a sixteenth-century man in a wig in the fashion of that time. The inner side panels are color illustrations of children at play. The backdrop is an etched illustration of a man in a kilt with a sword stabbing a hound in midair as it leaps at him. The inside top of the assemblage is a map of southeastern Europe and western Russia. It is flanked by words clipped from a children’s dictionary and a color photo of groups of people sitting at a bench, as seen from behind. The bottom of the box is a map of the ocean near the southern tip of Africa. There are several glass nodules pasted atop this map. In the bottom back is a black-and-white film still of World War II soldiers. This whole bottom section has a piece of lilac-tinted glass placed above it. The box rests on four small red blocks.


At a point in the stage play of Peter Pan, there is a direct plea to the audience to applaud in order to revive a dying Tinkerbell. It is a desperate and staged attempt to provoke an emotional response. Beneath the surface, this theatric trick is pathetic, perverse, and violent—a pretending that everything is okay when it is not. At the very least, this is a cynical ploy of the playwright, that we cannot otherwise feel sympathy for a character, so we must be coached in order that the whole audience feels in the moment. This box was inspired by the observation that we as a society have lost our youthful way of being. I think a lot of “adult” behavior stems from this fear, and to compensate, we try to force upon ourselves false ideas of the sentiments of childhood.