Despite its decorative appearance, the repeat image of Bloody Wallpaper originated from the smears of blood found on the walls following a murder - as depicted in a found black and white forensic photograph taken at the scene of a crime in the 1950's. The details of the murder did not accompany the photograph so the desperate marks have become random and abstract ... just traces of their brutal truth ... traces that have been captured on this usually confidential photographic police document. It was from this photograph, taken in America, that the marks were digitally lifted and enlarged to life size. When the Bloody Wallpaper is installed, the scene is repeatedly re-enacted. The work considers the reality of Abstract Expressionism and perhaps pokes a finger in the side of the art movement in light of the bigger picture. It certainly gives thought to Jackson Pollock's description of his own work, "energy and motion made visible - moments arrested in space".
Bloody Wallpaper has been shown with various works either hung on top or accompanying it; sometimes the Red Ink Pads, often the Concrete Dog or other sculptures. (Also see You Take My Breath Away.) Bloody Wallpaper was first shown at the ICA in London as part of a Solo show, Skin of the Teeth, in 1995.
The paper is a single colour silkscreen printed onto rolls of lining paper. The image was also screened onto canvases and made into an edition of large-scale prints onto paper.