Prove Oneself In The Bedroom (The Princess & The Pea) - Original

Mark Davies British Artist

  • For me the overriding thing here is that the princess will only be recognised as a true princess if she proves herself in the bedroom - it all centres around how she sleeps rather than acts which is quite odd. The prince is getting increasingly desperate to find his bride whilst her future mother-in-law struggles to find anyone good enough for her son. Between them they have opposing goals and set about trying to engineer the outcome as each prospective princess knocks on the castle door. The nature of this slumber-fixing and desperation on both sides has lead me to create a dark piece albeit with subtle wit dropped into the scene.

    The whole process is about being judged, initially when they open the door to judging how one deals with the 'pressures' of the bedroom. I have played on this by introducing a discreet darkened glass viewing wall where the sleeping girl is monitored and scored throughout the night. The various trickery that both mother and son engage is laid out, all of which goes on whilst the potential princess sleeps innocently before waking to learn her fate.

    The scene shows a girl who has come to the castle claiming to be a princess however the jury is out, mainly due to the clothing that she comes dressed in and the stubbed out cigarette. Casting off her clothes she has clambered up onto a side table to reach the comforts of her bed, where she sleeps onto of 13 (unlucky for some?) mattresses.

    There is a skylight in the ceiling where dreams descend from, the smoke and bokeh detail hint at a combination of both dark and light dreams which make their way downwards to where the girl sleeps. I have chosen to place the girl within the scene (albeit obscured) because knowing that someone is sleeping there amongst all the farce adds something lovely to the piece - regardless of character and background everyone is equal when asleep, there’s something really innocent about that.

    There are signs of frustration and anger within the scene, the broken wall mirror with the hand drawn crown on the glass, the pillow with crown detail that has been torn up (hence the feathers) and the pinned cushion at the foot of the bed. The choice is then who is at the root of this? The cushion has a scrawled message ’sleep tight’, the pillow could be the girl’s frustration at knowing that she isn’t a princess, the mother reacting to the thought of the girl becoming part of the family or the prince to try and disturb her sleep. The wall mirror has a message ‘the mirror don’t lie bitch!’ which is an attempt to try and dissuade the girl. There are signs of trying to get the room temperature perfect for their intentions, too hot and the princess’s disturbed sleep is amplified, or just right and she sleeps perfectly and walks at first light.

    I am painting a picture of long-term frustration here - hinting at the girl who sleeps being just one of a hundred girls that have spent a night in this room, with this frustration grows desperation - on both the prince and the mother’s side. Evidence of this is dominated by the completely over engineered control room that exists behind the darkened glass where the royals keep a constant eye on the sleeping girl, I have kept this dark and pulled back to portray that darkness of being watched while you asleep, not speaking from experience, I hope!

    The glass features a reversed set of diagnostics that are beamed onto the glass in real-time:
    Heart Rate: 55BPM
    Sheep Counted: 1978 (my birth year)
    Room Temperature: 30C
    Princess Potential: 80%
    Mother’s Approval: Never

    Further examples of the frustration is shown by the green bowling ball in the shadows, evidence that the prince is not confident the peas will do the trick, is she the one?! Maybe she simply has potential albeit a bit rough around the edges? The caterpillar rising to the butterfly is a subtle reference to personal growth and confidence through acceptance.
    1. Released: 2016
    2. Collection: Storyteller
    3. Specification: 1 of 1 original framed embellished canvas, hand signed by artist.
    4. Image Size: 48” x 36"
    5. Framed Size: 54” x 41"

Type: Original Artwork

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