Pamela Welsh: The Princess and the Piano

8 April 2022 – 26 June 2022Pamela-Welsh-MWRC-Website-Event-Page-Image2-banner.jpg

This exhibition comprised of a series of sculptures by Mudgee artist, Pamela Welsh. The intricate, painterly works are drawn from the true story of Princess Alexandra Amalie of Bavaria (1826 – 1875) who had a rare condition whereby she was convinced she had swallowed a glass grand piano as a child. This disorder, also known as ‘glass delusion’, is related to the extraordinary psychiatric phenomenon in which people believe they are made of glass and as a result must exercise extreme caution in their everyday lives in order not to shatter.

Each one of the works has taken weeks and occasionally months to create. The sculptures are moulded, carefully etched, then undergo multiple firings in the artist’s kiln. The are finished with the painstaking application of paint, gold leaf and varnish. Audiences explored each transcendental world that captures artist’s fascination with duality – the hypnagogic state between wakefulness and sleep and the dichotomy of reality and fantasy. Our protagonist, the princess in her bed, covered by a quilt, watches in horror as her legs become the piano pedals whilst our princess straddles the psychological precipice between sanity and madness.

The titles of the works further elucidate the artist’s fascination with the paradoxical human conditions including pretention and the ridiculous. The titles contain ‘folie’, the French word for madness that directly satirises how seriously the art world takes itself whilst also providing and a clue around the art’s implicit meaning.