Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor by Patrick Webb

Since late 2013, I have been obsessed by the simple rhyme of Tinker Tailor—I love the seeming banality of the list that in verses and versions expands and resonates with associations and confluences. Umberto Eco says we make lists because we are afraid of dying. I agree, and would add we make lists to understand and to make connections. I enjoy the John Le Carré novels that use the rhyme. In them, the characters’ search for information is indirect—the questions asked reveal as much about the questioner as the answers reveal about those questioned. This is how art and the imagination work too—through implication and within ambiguities. So my ubiquitous Punch explores a series of activities. He inhabits the roles of the rhyme. It is a journey of possibility rather than of death and loss.The sequence, like many of my recent series, is malleable—interchanging the placement of the paintings brings to light new connections, possible narratives and causalities that underscore the niggling strangeness of life, with its interconnectedness and unknowability.

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