Johnny Holmes]Johnny Holmes Dump

(specious armamenta)

Johnny Holmes, three times Golden Globe winner and fellow of The Royal Shakespeare Company is widely regarded as one of the foremost Shakespeare interpreters of the 20th century. He is perhaps best known for his leading role in Macbeth where he gained notoriety by unsheathing his exceptionally large sword on stage before plunging it deep into the throat of Lady Macbeth, played by BAFTA award winning Linda Lovelace. Fellow Shakespearean actor Lawrence Olivier remembers being greatly impressed by Holmes and his concept of setting Macbeth in late 20th century, suburban Los Angeles. He once commented ‘The basic human themes in Shakespeare’s works are timeless and Johnny’s idea of playing Macbeth as a swimming pool maintenance technician is testament to his profound genius, it was a new and revolutionary way of bringing The Bard to the people’. The remarkable partnership between Holmes and Lovelace was to prove highly popular with audiences worldwide and the opening lines delivered by Holmes ‘I bid thee well fair maiden, for I cometh to fix thine pool’ are rooted deeply in modern day culture.

In his latest pioneering work, renowned bum sculptor Chargel Darling pays homage to the glittering career of Johnny Holmes and no one can doubt the scale and scope of this his most ambitious undertaking to date, which is a magnificent full scale representation of Johnny’s massive sword. Upon viewing one will note the eloquence with which the length and curvature of the blade are expressed as it’s imposing form emerges from the deep and passes towards the observer from beyond the water line. The cross guard has been intricately detailed in characteristic Darling style and the hilt has been partially obscured, beckoning, as it were, towards the mysterious ‘other world’ beyond the U bend. Even the surface finish, so often overlooked, has not escaped Darlings exacting attention to detail, the viewer will find himself spellbound by a seductive insinuation of tomato skin and nuts. The embodiment of these separate elements is a work of astounding success, visionary in its perspective yet able to appeal to us all on a human level. Like all great art The Johnny Holmes has attracted more than it’s fair share of criticism but it’s creator has never been one to shy away from his detractors.

Since the unveiling of his seminal work The Torvill and Dean, Chargel Darling has achieved virtual celebrity status but it’s been a long and sometimes difficult road since his graduation from Ilfracombe Arts College. He has had a checkered career which has even included an unsuccessful venture as a freelance pole dancer in a working mans pub but those dark days are far behind this artist who is clearly in the ascendancy. In an interview for Harpers Bazaar Darling reveals ‘My work has been greatly influenced by Blue Peter therefore balsa wood and tin foil were among the more obvious choices of construction material but I wanted to build on my earlier experimental work with my own ordure and of course my success with The Torvill and Dean. It’s really thrilling to be on the cutting edge of modern sculpture yet I feel as if I have so much more to give’. Of The Johnny Holmes, darling says ‘It was really important for me to honor Johnny since he’s my favorite thespian, and what better way could there be than to replicate his infamous sword in solid excreta? Preparation played a crucial role since I spent months growing my bottom hairs really long before I started work but I’m satisfied with the result’.

It’s clear Darling has come a long way since his Double Big Ben and Guinness Pan filler was first reviewed in 2008, since then he has propelled himself to the forefront of British art culture and lovers of his work are gaggin’ for more.

The Johnny Holmes is currently on display at the Tate Gallery of Modern art.