Melinda Smith


for William Eggleston


Cartier-Bresson told you

colour was bullshit


but that was the whole of your art

(that, and not cropping):


glossy bloodstained red of a nightclub ceiling,

three white electrical cords snaking across it, converging at the dangling lightbulb


translucent blue-green of piled garbage bags, dozens of cigarette packets peering

scarlet through the plastic skins like cardboard vital organs


not-quite-black rubber tyres on a child’s tricycle, cross-hatched with grey skid-scars,

looming larger than the faded green house


strident red and blue diagonals of a neon Confederate flag sign

tangled in yellowing palm fronds against the blackness of the Southern night


rusted Martian orange of a tin roof under a sign for PEACHES

clumps of turd-brown rocks scattered on the corrugations


faded lemon dresses of sharecroppers’ daughters

staring from a cotton field with faces the colour of the soil


Your bullshit

still pungent

thirty five years on





Objects in the Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia, with occasional excerpts from the accompanying explanatory labels


A red coat (‘We bought it together on sale. It was cheap and he paid for it … I never really cared for red.’)


a black and white wedding photograph in a frame hand-made from lacquered toothpicks, the names JELKA and VLADO in vertical relief down each side


A tiny Venetian glass unicorn streaked with blue


A dog collar with a red flashing light, for dog walking at night, still flashing, Berlin, Germany (‘13 years’)


A can of LOVERS Incienso DE AMOR Love Incense, Bloomington, Indiana 1994 (‘Doesn't Work’)


A white enamel bowl with a green rim and a pattern of cherries, apricots, pears and plums


An axe


A ‘Zagor’ comic book, Istanbul, Turkey, 2003 (‘He liked comic books. Zagor was one of them … He was never my superhero anyway, I know now.’)


A mobile phone from the early 2000s, missing its charger


A pair of silver handcuffs lined with pink fur


A blue and white plastic nodding-water-drinking novelty bird


A pair of fake breasts a woman’s husband made her wear during sex (‘our biggest relationship crisis’)


a garden gnome missing a nose, thrown at a husband’s car, Ljubliana, Slovenia (‘20 years’)


the iron used to press a wedding suit, Stavanger, Norway (‘Now it is the only thing left’)


A pair of orange and brown Y-front underpants