SOME THING MEANS EVERYTHING TO SOMEBODY
Peter Mitchell’s follow up to the sell-out Strangely Familiar is an autobiography told through inanimate objects silently observed by scarecrows. Some Thing means Everything to Somebody boldly marks the passing of time by weaving images of these surreal totems in the landscape amongst those of objects with sentimental value. The combination of personal belongings with scarecrows highlights the quirky and eccentric view Peter has shown throughout his work – the humdrum and mundane becomes weird and wonderful, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
This is a document of both the literal and the allegorical: blank scarecrow faces in empty landscapes with muted skies connect to a bleak pastoral sensibility, while horded things map out Peter’s life chronologically. He says: ‘Scarecrows have always been a feature of my childhood…I’ve purposefully chosen ones that have no face on them because I didn’t want people to laugh at them but imagine them as people… I’ve paired them with the objects that I’ve got which are my own scruffy little objects – treasured objects I’ve had since I was little. I chose them because I use them everyday. Everyday objects with the figure of Everyman.’
The book employs hand-made fonts combined with narratives purposefully jangling and rattling the viewer along with this eclectic panoply of possessions. Peter, a child of the Airfix generation, recorded this vibrant collection of scarecrows over 40 years and presents this array as an autobiography.
The scarecrows are recurring visual anchors in a story of steadfastness and continuity. Like Mitchell’s collected objects, the scarecrows define the boundaries of this life story and guard its riches. Yet, as it must seem even within King Tut’s tightly packed antechamber to the afterlife, what an expansive, magical place it is where Peter Mitchell and his friends live. — Karen Jenkins