David Hensel is a 64-year-old sculptor who submitted 'a laughing head' made from jesmonite resin entitled One Day Closer To Paradise to the exhibition, but was puzzled when he turned up to at the preview to check out his work and found only the plinth on display.
So Dave assumes they've accidentally left his 'head' in storage or wherever the Royal Academy keep jesmonite heads and goes off to enquire about getting things put right... only to find that the omission was deliberate as this statement from the RA shows:
David Hensel’s work One Day Closer To Paradise was submitted to the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2006 as two separate pieces. Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently.
The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted. It is currently on display. The head has been safely stored ready to be collected by the artist. It is accepted that works may not be displayed in the way that the artist might have intended.
Of course this is a blow to art lovers who were looking forward to a bit of head (sorry), but on the other hand, with Alison Lapper sitting proud in Trafalgar Square, this does redress London's 'empty plinth' balance.