Lucy Meyle


Bad Actors


MEANWHILE, Wellington (NZ)

There is a drawing which resembles an elephant in the First Bible of Charles the Bald (c.846) [1], except that it feels wrong: the ears are far too small; the mouth appears somewhat beak-like; the tail is too long; it has a horses’ legs; the head is indistinct from the body; and the trunk seems like an afterthought, a semi-attached saxophone. It is an elephant made very strange, drawn by someone who had not seen an elephant before. Probably they were imagining the animal via second-hand description, putting down on paper a possible arrangement of elephantine features.

On the website, under the category “Fruits” and in the subcategory “Garnishes”, there is another version of elephant – this one made from plastic. It is a replica gone wrong, moulded plastic made to look like a lemon that has been carved to look like an elephant. The CITRUS ELEPHANT (in all caps, as it is named on the website) is a good replica in its broad strokes (after-all, it must be hard to carve a convincing elephant out of a lemon), but the individual details make it absurd: the elephant’s trunk points out from its face like a shrivelled finger, it has an oddly shaped head, very short legs, and a stubby pig’s tail. The CITRUS ELEPHANT fails at being convincing as an elephant or a lemon, yet it is somewhat endearing.


[1] “First Bible of Charles the Bald | List of Figures,” accessed May 17, 2017,

Images by Sean Burn

The publication from this show can be viewed or downloaded here

Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017

Veneer, packing tape, marker pen, newsprint, Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017

No More Gaps, high-density foam, Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017

Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017

No More Gaps, Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017

Veneer, Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017

Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017

Bad Actors, MEANWHILE, 2017