Fabric, thread & paint, 105 x 25 x 17 cm.
I'm in a house and wish to travel to the house I lived in before this house. I find a key to lock up, but the key is flimsy and bends in the lock. I leave the present house unlocked. I find myself in the house before this house. There's a Christmas tree in the hall and I know I have to cross a threshold and say special words to open the portal which will lead me to another house, the one even before this house.
We are in the small hours. There's a man living in this house now, sitting at a table in the gloom, drinking tea. I don't want him to see me, I'm trespassing. I need to find the threshold, and to cross it saying the special words that will open the portal. The crossing place is in the living room. The man has called the police and now they are pursuing me.
Time passes. I'm on the move, in a car. Something catches my eye at the roadside, by the trees. It's looks like a pouffe, and I remember seeing it in the living room where the lonely man drinks tea when he can't sleep. I stop to investigate and take it with me. It's covered in earth and leaves, and frayed in places–it has seen better days. It's shaped like a penguin and has magical symbols written on it, faded now. This feels like a second chance. There's a powerful sense of long forgotten memories about this object, gradually emerging– the Sacred Blue Penguin Portal.
It dawns on me that this is how I can be transported, this is the route to take, and not running past the old man to cross the space in his living room. It is the penguin pouffe all along that holds the key.
If only I could remember the special words I need to say.
(extract from How Shall I Get Elephants To Stay – a book of dreams)