This is a copy of an article I wrote for the Hackney Citizen.
Whenever I see a magpie I start a little tally and a familiar rhyme begins in my head. Finding one for sorrow is always a little unsettling. While I whisper a salutation my grandmother taught me under my breath, I’m always looking into the distance in the hopes of spotting a partner in joy.
I can’t be certain that everyone is as suspicious as I am when it comes to magpies, but they certainly have a special significance in our cultural psyche. The magpie has collected a veritable treasure-box of symbolic statuses, and from this, artists Kate Davis and David Moore, have taken inspiration for their Patio Project at the WW Gallery.
With Kate Davis and David Moore’s Pica Pica, the magpie’s double nature as a harbinger of both joy and sorrow is expressed as a physical metaphor. The plastic signs positioned on either side of the patio might look at first like the ubiquitous signs of an estate agent, but in the September winds they spin wildly from sorrow to joy and all the way back again.
With its magpie-monochromatic palette splashed with red, the installation is carnivalesque. The brightly spinning magpies are reflected in a circular mirror rising from the patio stones. Pica Pica, taking its mysterious name from the Latin word for the European magpie, taunts us as a wheel of life from a game show or some surreal amusement from the fairground.
Kate Davis and David Moore have created a game of fortune which invites each and every passerby to play. It’s not clear what we might catch reflected in that mirror or how many magpies, both real and illusory, we might count as our fortune. Nevertheless, the game seems worth a try.
Pica Pica will finish this weekend on the 30 September at the Patio Project, WW Gallery, 30 Queensdown Road E5.
For more information go to WW Patio Projects.