The background of the Luck Project.
We live in the 21st century and the majority of us claims, that we are not superstitious. Although it might be true, many of us surprisingly often succumb to rituals, habits or tendencies that show the opposite. As I find this behaviour very interesting, I have decided to take a closer look. This page will show my records, observations, and relevant artistic creations.
Since the theme of superstition is too large to tackle in one project, I have decided to concentrate on the topic of LUCK. I am aware that this theme is also rather large and not specifically defined, however, this is an Art project and not a scientific study and therefore, I believe, the term “Luck” can be defined rather loosely.
If anyone would like to share their definition of luck, please use the form below, I will be more than happy.
The main categories of luck, I will consider in my work:
- in the form of love (relationship)
- in the form of money
- in the form of preventing un-luck
- in the for of success in exam
- in the form of good health
According to a psychological study, the groups most likely to poses a luck-bringer/talisman/luck object are musicians, sportsmen and students. That is rather logic, while these groups are constantly faced with the possibility of failure/”unluck”. My deeper investigation also revealed that the categories of soldiers and drivers also tend to use luck-bringers (protectors). The rest of the population is however is also affected.
This statement provided the starting point of my project:
“Many of us believe (although halfheartedly), that an object (luck-bringer) has the power to bring us LUCK.”
Therefore the first step of my project focused on collecting information and images about luck-bringers and the behaviour we display, when in contact with them. Since much has been written about religious or astrological talismans and generic symbols, I aim to focus on the more ordinary objects in our lives.
I have identified two categories of luck-bringers:
- Personal (small, intimate object in private possession)
- Public (mostly sculptures with a “lucky legend” attached)
As the later is readily accessible, I have started collecting material about this category, while slowly acquiring images of the personal objects.
Here is the collection of the public LUCKY PLACES in Europe so far.
Here is my selection from my collection of the personal LUCK OBJECTS.
Can luck can be exported or duplicated???
During this collecting process, I made several surprising discoveries. The first one was, that few of the legendary “luck-bringing” sculptures actually have duplicates and those duplicates are being touched as eagerly (if in reach) as the originals. This raised the question, if it is possible to duplicate or export luck. More about exporting luck, can be found here.
Our superstition is obviously not fixed on the original. This fact became very important for my own artistic creations later.
The original of Juliet in Verona and the two copies in Munich.
The original Porcellino in Florence and the copy in Munich.
This duplicating phenomenon goes even further in the case of the sculpture of Frantisek (Francis) in Frantiskovy Lazne (Francisbad) in the Czech Republic. Since the creation of the legend changed Francis his appearance 3 times! The original is in the local museum, his follower apparently disappeared during the communistic years and now the keen visitors touch the third version of the sculpture.
Original Francis in the museum and the latest sculpture in the Park (Francisbad, Czech Republic)
Another discovery was, that a luck-legend can be artificially created. The example of this, is the legend about St. John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge in Prague. Although the sculpture of the saint was created in the 17th century, it was only in 1991 when one keen Tour guide-lady started a story about “touching it for luck”. Through long-term repetition reached this legend such fame, that we can observe people from all around the world patiently waiting their turn to touch this relief.
Another surprising factor is, that many people touch the relief without having the faintest idea WHY! While eves dropping on the bridge, I have heard a several versions of the legend. Interestingly enough, different people also touch different part of the relief. Some even having a precise idea about HOW it should be touched. This observation applies to the other luck-bringing sculptures too.
The following works document this stage of the project. Details of luck-bringing sculptures.
The details of Juliet also inspired this series of drawings:
The “Art of Touch” series:
From 2D to 3D form
Although the two-dimensional images captured the act of obsessive touching relatively well, they were unable to fully communicate the idea of the “luck transfer” through touch. Therefore I started to look for more appropriate ways to incorporate the touched objects more authentically into my work. The idea of the silicon moulds of the original sculptures and luck-bringing objects was born. Using the silicon compound, I have successfully acquired moulds of Francis (the sculpture in Francisbad) and the mould of the relief from the St. John Nepomuk on the Charles Bridge in Prague. Additionally, I made silicon moulds from the “lucky” necklace of my mother and of the “lucky” dog figure of my best friend. I have also added my own mini elephant luck-bringer mould.
Some of the first casts
Experimenting with these moulds by combining and collaging the motives in clay and other materials, I have created original mini forms that can be viewed as “concentrated luck” objects. While creating a wide variety of these castings, I have focused on our perception of the materials and colours used. These form were meant to be touched and should have initiated the desire to touch them. During this process I came with the idea to cast these objects in soap. This material proved to be suitable, as it naturally – due to its role in our lives – attracts touching. In addition, its temporary quality replicates the process of disappearing “under our hands” – the same process that takes place when a bronze sculpture is exposed to repetitive touching.
My soap experiment with a random cast:
First soap casts directly from the “authentic” silicon forms:
To develop this casting process further, I made new silicon moulds using some of my already existing clay sculptures and then made new casts. Here are some examples.
Further experiments with the form from Charles Bridge and with opaque soap followed.
To be continued…