Imagine the young boy who, curious as he is, going through his Granddad’s drawers finds an old pistol from the great war. What would it feel like to him, its weight, its size? Would he play with it or just carefully put it back where he found it, pretending he never found it? Would it then sneak its way back into his games, into the drawings he makes or the toys he builds himself? The stories passed down by the generations are different in every family. In some, the stories about war are retold as heroic epics, in others they are silently passed over.
Papi’s Pistole is a series of sculptures which I tried to shape as if made by a child. They are based on pistols used by both sides in the two great wars, made from cast tin and carved and polished walnut. I made them all about 50% larger than their originals, so that the feel of the size and weight we as adults get holding them in our hands, is more like that a young boy would have. The metal parts were first individually modelled in wax, and on purpose I left the mark of the hand on the sculptures. As a small boy, I made a lot of small plasticine and clay figures, and even though I was very young, I always tried my best to replicate the “real” things I had seen in books or magazines. The frustration was of course that I never managed very well, and despite the eulogies of grown ups, I knew myself I was far from the perfection I had wanted to achieve. Now, as an adult, I am reverting to this imperfection, this rather sensual hand-made texture, to inscribe the pistols with the narrative of a weapon being imagined and reinterpreted as a toy by a young boy.
Papi’s Pistole no 1, 2011, W31cm x H20cm. Reichsrevolver M1883. Used by German WWI reservists.
Papi’s Pistole no 2, 2012, W23cm x H20cm. Beretta M1934, used by the Italian army in WWII.
Papi’s Pistole no 3, 2012, W33cm x H23cm. Luger P08, used by the Germans in both world wars.
Papi’s Pistole no 4, 2012, W48cm x H25cm. Mauser C96. Manufactured by the German arms manufacturer Mauser but used by various sides in both world wars as well as in the Spanish and Russian civil wars, the Easter Rising, and many more conflicts.
Papi’s Pistole no 5, 2012, W34cm x H28cm. Rast & Gasser Model 1898. Used by the Austro-Hungarian army in WWI and by various armies in WWII.
Papi’s Pistole no 6, 2012, W26cm x H20cm. FN Browning M1900. Manufactured in Belgium and used by France and Belgium in WWI.
Papi’s Pistole no 7, 2012, W27cm x H19cm. Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless, used by British and American troops in both world wars.
Papi’s Pistole no 8, 2012, W25cm x H17cm. Savage Model 1907, an American gun used by US, French and Portuguese troops during WWI.
Papi’s Pistole no 9, 2012, W26cm x H22cm. The Ruby Pistol, a Spanish made Browning copy used by the French in WWI.
There are 9 Papi’s Pistole. They are all mounted on black glass in wooden frames for contrast and clarity.