© The Multiple Store. Reproduced by kind permission of the artist.

Barbituate II 2010

Simon Periton (1964 – )


61 x 3 x 3 cm
borosilicate (reinforced) glass
Accession number


As part of The Multiple Store’s First Collection in 1998, Simon Periton produced a length of barbed wire hand-crafted in opaque, coloured glass, the sharp barbs rendered useless through their fragile beauty.

Somewhere along the way I became enchanted by the ephemerality and useless qualities of art works. I began making delicate decorative doilies – something essentially throwaway, possibly beautiful, difficult to keep. Always thin like a veil, a screen, a barrier. I had in my head an idea for a beautiful sculpture – a length of barbed wire made out of fine bone china or porcelain. A symbol of our obsession with property and ownership handcrafted in a traditional material. It would be a monument to Englishness. At first I thought this could be cast, fired and decorated afterwards. But somehow all this seemed a bit frivolous. It might appear nostalgic or romantic. Glass comes as a rod that can be heated, twisted and wound like wire. Here was an immediacy I liked. Glass is the epitome of fragility.

Barbed wire is practical, utilitarian. It is designed for use rather than beauty. Made in glass its practical use is denied. It becomes house trained. The hazards associated with its use turn upon its owner who must now take care of it. Handle with care – the fragile object.

The Multiple Store 2010