Dominic Kavanagh
Perkins’ Leg
acrylic paint, wood, sticks, sand, mdf board, rope, plants, curtains,
(installation) 400 cm x 150 cm (detail) 50 cm x 30 cm
© 2009

The Myth
A preserved, three and a half metre wooden leg was recently found half buried in desert sands just south of the Moroccan city, Tangier. Due to a series of severe desert storms, much of the covering sand had been removed, exposing the leg for the first time in what is believed to be around 1650 years. There has been much controversy over the leg’s origin. Mobile in design and consisting of several carved, interlocking pieces, many baffled archaeologists have suggested the leg functioned as a component to a large, primitive, mechanical farming device. Professor Perkins, who discovered the leg, believes its origin to be far more significant. Perkins speculates that the remnants belonged to an apparent creature of mythical renown: Nemorosus Aroxus (Wooden Horror).

Perkins’ Leg is the fantastical discovery of a large limb belonging to an unknown creature. Constructed almost entirely from wood, the artefact is half buried in sand in order to portray the desert scene of its apparent discovery and its display is designed to provoke curiosity about its origin. This kind of installation is reminiscent of ‘nature’ displays in museums and theme parks. Fake environments like these are created in a variety of ways to depict and inspire speculation about the life of the subjects placed within them. I want to create my own myth surrounding the existence of a supposed artefact or relic. In this case, everything has been fabricated, from the relic itself, to the brief publication of its history that accompanies it.

Dominc Kavanagh graduated with first class honours from the University of Newcastle before moving to Melbourne in early 2007 to pursue an art career. Dominic held his first Melbourne solo show, The Rebellious Garden Shed, at Seventh Gallery, Fitzroy in 2008. He received the Jennie Thomas Traveling Artists Scholarship in 2004, and was short-listed for the Brett Whitley Traveling Artists Scholarship in 2003 and 2004. Dominic is currently completing a Master of Fine Art degree at Monash University.

On show at Vitrine throughout August.