“As with any January, there is a chill to the wind surrounding us as we wish away the coldest days still to come. A quietly playful addition to the centre of Bermondsey Square, London, is the latest SCULPTURE AT public sculpture commission. Cloud Study (2017) by the British artist Charlie Godet Thomas is a two-metre high weather vane featuring a yellow speech bubble which contrasts the leaden skies above.
A small cloud symbolising bad luck and misfortune follows the cartoon character, Joe Btfsplk, from the American cartoon ‘Li’l Abner’ created by Al Cap that ran between 1934 – 1977, which Godet Thomas is referencing in this artwork. Visually cheerful and warm, Cloud Study depicts an exclamation of triumph over the character’s blues and bad luck despite its mocking tone which reads, “YO’ IS STUCK IN THAR FO’EVER, LI’L GRAY CLOUD!!-“. The words signal a change in his future as the character Joe Btfsplk takes control of his fate and manages to trap the grey cloud that follows him around in a cave. Ironically, later in the comic he is forced to release the cloud once more to save himself, returning to a life filled with gloom.”
Charlie Godet Thomas sculpture commission ‘Cloud Study’ in Cent magazine. Read more here.
Charlie Godet Thomas ‘Cloud Study’ featured in The Weekender. Read more here.
Jacob Charles Wilson in-depth interview for The London Magazine with Charlie Godet Thomas with Alys Williams, discussing ‘Cloud Study’ (Thomas’s new public sculpture commission for SCULPTURE AT Bermondsey Square), the gallerist’s relationship to programming outside the white cube, and artist representation. Reflecting on this time of change in the art market and new galley models.
“Floating above your head a silver-grey weather vane in the shape of a speech bubble, turning with the wind … For Joe Btfsplk, the moment when he traps the cloud is a moment of revelation and renewed life. But there’s a certain irony in this episode taken by Thomas, that to save himself, Joe Btfsplk had to release the cloud, condemning himself and giving in to the forces he couldn’t control. It links back to Thomas’ own thought that limitations are linked to creativity, and similarly, that the difficulties faced by galleries and artists in London today may drive new models of working together.”
Read more here.
“Cloud Study, is an immersive sculptural piece made up of a weather vane with a speech bubble atop – when this piece turns in the wind, the phrase ‘-yo’ is stuck in thar fo’ever li’l gray cloud.!’. The words have been laser cut into the bubble, emblazoning the message so that it can be seen from both sides. Not just a comment from the artist, you may recognise the line from Al Cap’s cartoon ‘Li’l Abler’, an iconic American comic strip where one of its characters “entombs the cloud that bedevils him in a cave, sealing it with a boulder…the protection this offers is, of course illusory”. Encompassing both political messages and personal feelings, the piece aims to encourage the viewer to meditate on “the tragicomic nature of life”: as the vane moves in the wind, it reflects the twisting emotions and thought oscillations of daily life.”
Charlie Godet Thomas’ upcoming SCULPTURE AT Commission in Hunger Magazine. Read more here.