ABOUT MARX ZAUBER MANTEL OR MARX'S MAGIC CLOAK
For a while I was obsessed with dipping book pages in rabbit skin glue imbued with natural pigments. The effect is rather like marbling, but more earthy and very matte. I made small sculptures of these pages, and one day I had the idea of sewing them into a cape or dress of some kind. I decided to make a shamanic cloak made out of the dyed book pages of Marx and Engels. Marx, of course, famously said that religion was the opiate of the masses. And I doubt if there are any Marxist shamans, but I wanted to smash these two ideas – scientific socialism and new age spirituality – together, and wear the result.
I pigmented the rabbit skin glue with a deep red powder that made the pages look like dried blood. I started sewing them on to fabric, but quickly realized that I was perforating the pages, which is where “tear on the dotted line” comes from. So I used double sided tape, and made a head dress to look like the Tatlin Tower, the famous Soviet Constructivist design that was never built.
I had so much fun wearing the shamanic cloak with the bookplates of portraits of Marx and Engels over my breasts, and the Soviet tower on my head. I wore it at Word on the Street, at the UrbanArts Festival, and various other venues. It was exhibited at the Agnes Ehterington Gallery in Kingston, and the Maclaren Art Centre in Barrie and the Toronto bookstores This Ain’t the Rosedale Library and Type Books.