Thursday, 12 April 2012


Fantasy Bob begins to recognise that there are many kinds of cricketers in today's high pressure 24/7 environment.  The cricket world now has specialist limited over players, and within that specialist T20 players.

Just as there are many kinds of cricketer, so there are many kinds of artist, some of whom may be looked on as Test players and others specialists in shorter forms.  And then there are the conceptual artists - for whom the ideas or concepts behind their efforts take over from any more traditional aesthetic considerations.  No longer is  skill with paint and brush or chisel and marble of any importance.  Many critics who have observed Fantasy Bob's efforts on the field of play may be inclined to suggest that FB himself is the embodiment of the conceptual cricketer - that new kind of cricketer, post modern, ironic and situationist, for whom the idea of cricket being played has taken over from any of the more traditional considerations, such as skill in batting or bowling. 

So, as a conceptual cricketer, FB is greatly interested in the work of German conceptual artist Hans-Peter Feldmann, whose latest exhibition opens this week at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Feldmann has a long history of presenting works which the art critic, if not the cricketer, in FB would describe as rubbish: for example 11 Left Shoes presents 11 shoes borrowed from gallery employees in a row on the floor; Que Sera has the words of the song of that title handwritten on the wall; Bed With Photograph simulates part of a hotel room with a slept-in bed, a side table and a framed photograph of a woman in leopard-print pants. FB observes that Feldmann has made no attempt to include cricket as a theme in his work (none of the borrowed shoes was a cricket boot).

Handbag by Hans-Peter Feldmann
But an item in his latest exhibition caught FB's attention. The contents of the handbags of 6 women are emptied and displayed in glass cases. Feldmann says that the women were specially selected, but FB says that about the batting order of his All Star Carlton Fourth XI so that says nothing. Of more interest is that the women were offered 500 Euros to turn the contents of their bags over to Feldmann.  Mrs FB has pointed out that it would take more than 500 smackeroos to get her to turn over her handbag's secrets to such a shyster. But then again Mrs FB is a woman of many handbags so getting the full picture could cost the conceptual artist more than he bargained for.

But FB is not so sure.  FB is prepared to make a supreme sacrifice in the cause of art.  He has therefore written to Feldmann suggesting that he should take up the opportunity for a companion piece to this undoubtedly major piece of art. FB has offered to turn over the contents of his cricket bag to the artist for a similar sum.  He is sure that the artist is already familiar with FB's previous post on his cricket bag which reveals how powerful this new work could be. This could be the perfect marriage of conceptual art and conceptual cricket.  The critics would be lost for words.  

He is confident that there will be other cricketers, conceptual and otherwise, with a commitment to the cause of art similar to that of FB, who will ensure that Feldmann produces a supreme masterpiece. FB therefore expects a positive response.


  1. I remember Mike Brearley being quoted, during his spell as England captain in a particularly difficult Test series, as saying that his batsmen were finding ever more extravagant ways of getting themselves out. Critics pointed out at the time that we used to call this being not very good at batting. So conceptual cricket can reach the highest level of the game it seems. I am not familiar with Feldmann's work but will certainly inquire further. Meanwhile how about a Tracey Emin installation entitled "Carlton Changing Room After Tea Break"? Margate meets Grange Loan - now that would be worth turning out for.

    1. FB has been trying to confirm Ms Emin's availability for this season although he has made clear that she will need to come to nets to ensure selection.