The Mime is the latest piece from Chichester sculptor Vincent Gray to occupy the garden of the Cloisters cafe at Chichester Cathedral.
The sculpture will remain in position throughout the summer – and Vincent is very keen for you to get to know it. He really does want you to interact with it.
“Sculpture is all about interaction. I can’t stand it when you see signs saying ‘Please do not touch.’ What I have really enjoyed is seeing people’s response.
“I have noticed that the hands are really quite shiny and worn from people touching them.”
He also loves the way people will instinctively mirror or mimic the pose.
“The piece is in resin. It has never been in bronze. It is a speculative piece. I can’t afford to have it cast in bronze, but I can suggest it. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful if it were picked up and turned into bronze, but really I am happy if I get a response. If I get a response, my job is done.
“The Mime was produced more than 20 years ago as an entirely-speculative piece born out of an interest in theatre for an exhibition in Worthing.
“It has been out on show on several occasions since then and enjoyed by all. The Mime is part of a series of works including jugglers, uni cyclists and musicians all of which have proved very popular and many are in private collections as bronze editions up and down the land.
“I am interested in all things theatre, whether it be stage, circus, street entertainment or dance. It doesn’t have to be high-brow or elite.
“It is the show, the performance, the spectacle, the carnival or festival and in this case it is the high street that is the stage. To quote Shakespeare, ‘All the worlds a stage’.
“I responded to the invitation to do something for the Worthing exhibition, and I have always been interested in all things theatrical, all things performance, be it on stage at the Festival Theatre or the street entertainers you see around.
“I am interested in performance, and really The Mime was born out of that, various people I have seen doing street theatre.”
It is not based on a specific performer. If anything, in fact, it is based on Vincent himself.
“There is a lot of me in there. I have used my own proportions to produce the work.”
The Mime succeeds in situ another piece by Vincent: “It has become my slot largely due to the administrator there. She suggested a permanent arrangement of a selection of art works. It is my work at the moment, but the thinking from their point of view is that it would be exciting and would draw people into the cafe.
“You will notice that in the sculpture the hair is blowing in the wind, so it really does need to be outside.”