2012, by JMW

A dazzling array of marbles hides a message. The viewer has to bend his or her head to the right to read the message: Change is the essence of life. These were the opening words John Michael Wade wrote in his book "Valet's Diction: An Edwardian odyssey and its distant echoes" published in 1988 (Gaffer Press, No 7, IG8 0BP, some original copies still available at £5 including post and packing). It is an account of the author and two of his three offspring following in the footsteps of JMW's grandfather who was a servant in a Nottinghamshire country house party who went with his master on a salmon fishing trip to Laerdal, Norway, in 1906 during which William James Wade (1873-1914) penned a modest account of his travels. The book's first words resonate today as significantly as they have ever done, for without change, we are doomed. Life is change for every day of one's existence and beyond. This was acknowledged by the Apple computer visionary Steve Jobs when suffering from the cancer that finally did for him in 2011. He loved life but recognised that the inevitability of death for us all allowed later generations to invent new technologies and ways of living. Were it not for change, we would still be living in caves and have a lifespan of no more than 30 years.

An MDF board measuring 64 cm x 122 cm (B&Q) is covered in white paint (Wilkinson) and then the letters are marked out by a power drill and countersink piece. The marbles (Jesters) of various sizes are superglued (Poundland) in to the drilled holes. Normally, an artwork like this would be hung vertically, but the maverick iconoclast JMW decided that it would make a bigger impact and also overturn curatorial norms by being slung horizontally, thus challenging conventional perceptual notions.