Artist: Gili Tal
Venue: Cabinet, London
Exhibition Title: Civic Virtues
Date: October 5 – November 10, 2018
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Cabinet, London
My mother told me that the word bowdlerised was derived from the actions of Thomas Bowdler,
who was famous for rewriting the works of Shakespeare in a way he deemed appropriate for
19th century women and children. In his The Family Shakespeare (1807), he edited out any bad
language, references to sex, murder or anything and anyone else he deemed unsuitable for
‘It’s a scary thought isn’t it?’ my mother concluded. ‘That everything you think you know
has had most of the content taken out, and all the stories in your head are just designed to
protect you from the realities of human nature?’ I answered that I didn’t find it scary, and she
said that she knew I didn’t because I was a big brave boy.
‘But now you’re all grown up,’ she continued, ‘I thought I should come clean and admit
that I bowdlerised some of the stories I told you in accordance with my belief in the free market.
I did it because I felt this was the best way to protect you, but now you’re older I worry that these
oversimplifications of human behavior have affected you adversely.
‘I’m fine,’ I replied, confused as to why she was making such a fuss about nothing. She
looked at me, concerned, then asked if I could remember the story of the Trojan Horse, which
was my favourite growing up.
‘Of course I remember,’ I replied.
‘Well, the version I told you is not the version most people know. I bowdlerised the story
so much that it wasn’t really the same story anymore.’
‘Why are you telling me this? Of course I know that,’ I answered, perplexed.
‘I know you know, but let me finish. When I told my Trojan Horse story to children after
you, I realised that I should change the title because the version of the story I told was so
different from the original one that they could get confused. So I called my version The
‘OK.’ I answered, as naturally I didn’t mind what she called it.
‘So the Trojan Horse and The Aspirational Horse are in fact different stories.
‘Why are you telling me this?’ I asked again. ‘Of course I know the difference between
your Trojan Horse and the Trojan Horse.
‘And you know all the bits about the Trojans looking in awe at the aspirational horse is
not in the version of the Trojan Horse most people know.’
‘Yes of course I know that,’ I answered, beginning to lose my temper, but she carried on
regardless.‘ And the way the aspirational horse conquered all those hearts and brought the
Greeks and the Trojans together. That’s just The Aspirational Horse.’
‘Mum!’ I snapped in disbelief, ‘I’ve read books since I was a child and I know what
happens in the original Trojan Horse story.’
‘So you know I changed what happens?’
‘Yes! I’m a big boy.’ I enunciated, loud and clear.
‘Oh that’s such a relief to hear,’ she replied, ‘I don’t know why I was sure you didn’t.’
-Oliver Corino, 2018
Link: Gili Tal at Cabinet