From a vintage 1930’s Artistic brand of permanent wave hair curling machine, “Useful Fiction” evolved through conversations with the work’s collaborator/collector and his recollection of reading Malcom Gladwell’s book What the Dog Saw. In this book, Gladwell was re-telling the history of women’s hair dye. During the 1950’s, several legendary women in advertising such as Ilon Spech and Shirley Polykoff coined such phrases for Clairol and L’Oreal as `Does she or doesn’t she?’ and “Because I’m worth it”. Women’s hair dye soon became a way of bridging the contradiction between the kind of woman she was and the kind of woman she felt she ought to be – i.e. Useful Fiction. This transformational concept is not too unlike the 1930’s when women would sit under the electric hair curling machines for hours to achieve their desired outcomes. The 1930’s was the glorious time of inventing beauty through innovation and certainly the permanent wave machines were an important part of those innovations.
The sculpture is a modern day interpretation of the possibilities of mixing today’s electronics with yesterday’s desire of contrived beauty. The six foot sculpture is on wheels and is height adjustable with three illumination controls for the gold-leafed mannequin head, the stained glass dome, and the 24 curler receptacles.