(left: the finished piece. right: details from the forgery process)

'QUESTIONING ADULTS (WHAT OBJECT WOULD YOU LIKE TO OWN BUT KNOW THAT, FOR WHATEVER REASON, YOU NEVER WILL? WHATEVER IT IS I WILL REMAKE IT FOR YOU)' 2007
Carved balsa wood & enamel paints / Cartridge paper & coloured pencil in frame
83cm x 60cm / 30cm x 24cm


A private commission based around my forgery of the painting 'Questioning Children' 1948, by Karel Appel.

Invited to make a new work for the home of two architects I devised a project that asked the question "What object would you like to own but know that, for whatever reason, you never will? Whatever it is I will remake it for you".

The question prompted a long negotiation as we discussed the various potential outcomes, whittling a long list of options - literary first editions, prototypes, photographs, designer objects - down to the final selection. They finally chose the Karel Appel piece as a poster for this work had always been in one of their uncles homes when they would visit as a child.

Once the object had been chosen I went back to the studio to work out how I could reproduce this assemblage of found wood and broadly applied oil paint. Deciding to aim for a purely visual recreation I took the model maker's approach and used a scalpel, balsa wood, small tins of enamel paint and fine brushes to exactly replicate every crack, drip and smear.

(above: The work in location)



The piece to the left of the above image is the other physical product of the process. I wanted to accompany the Appel forgery with some other sculptural element that foregrounded the process of it's making. Throughout our discussions we had often been referring to their initial shortlist that my question had provoked - a scribbled list of ideas and sketches on the back of a mobile phone bill envelope. I decided to reproduce this myself using the same skills I had honed in the making of the Appel forgery.

(above: Details of the replica envelope, coloured pencil on folded cartridge paper in custom frame)

Made exactly to scale the envelope was carefully constructed from cartridge paper, cut and scored with a scalpel to replicate the folds and tears of the original ripped open envelope. I then used a fine propelling pencil to carefully reproduce their handwritten notes and sketches.


The original 'Questioning Children', Karel Appel,
1948. Gouache on found wood, 83cm x 60cm
© Collection Centre Pompidou