In my last post, after discussing the unsettling disproportion of a shaker set that contains a human figure accompanied by some relatively giant shakers (or perhaps, some normal-sized shakers accompanied by a decidedly tiny human figure, I promised to talk about another set I have that consists of the usual shaker-sized miniature human figure and a proportionally giant (or in terms of my real world, normally life-size) shaker–but this time the set makes perfectly good sense. Here it is:
The miniature figure is a sculptor, and what he is sculpting is a giant pepper shaker–a truly inspired work of art in the context of a salt and pepper set. The clever joke here is that what is to me a normal-sized shaker that actually looks like (and can actually be used like) a normal-sized pepper shaker has come to represent, placed beside its supposed sculptor, a weird artistic take on the shaker world–the depiction of something usually quite small as immense. There’s something Dada about it. Or may something Pop-Artish. One or the other. either way, the sculptor is clearly a genius, his eyes fixed on unsettling reality. And on focussing attention on the disproportion between the figures represented in shakers and the people who use them–something we surely usually take for granted and don’t even begin to think about.
It’s interesting, in the light of the string of posts about chubby chefs that I’ve been doing lately, that this non-chef shaker figure should also be fairly rotund, and have some pretty puffy cheeks, too. If the figures who inhabit the imaginary world represented by salt and pepper shakers could actually come to life, we’d probably be wanting to be putting a goodly proportion of them in a sever calorie-lowering diet. There is rarely ever anything angular about them. They are safely and unthreateningly rounded–as are so many of things we like to call cute; and so, they are safely utopian, the cute harmless way things ought to be, if things were perfect. Cute means vulnerable, and for no clear reason I can think of, chubbiness tends to seem sort of vulnerable. The evidence of the existence of bones and muscles under the skin is the end of cuteness.