Sunday, 29 November 2015

Minimal Intervention Piece #1

I'm not sure that my sculptural work qualifies 100% as assemblage. It's true that most of my three dimensional pieces employ the use of found materials, but unlike traditional assemblage, where found objects are often merely stuck together (I'm in no way deriding assemblage – in fact many of my favourite sculptures are assemblages), in my work I feel the need to manipulate the materials to a certain degree, in order to make them my own. Even with my box/tower structures, I find it hard to just take existing boxes and use them as they are. I still feel the need to create them from scratch; from bits of old wood – which ironically makes it look like I've just used pre-existing boxes.

One of the problems with using found objects in artwork is that sometimes one comes across a piece of material that is just perfect as it is, and altering it in any way might even go as far as to lessen its artistic merit. And as an avid collector (read 'hoarder') of materials I often find bits of flotsam and jetsam that fit just this criteria.

Even though there is a long and respected tradition of artists exhibiting found objects exactly as they are, or with minimal intervention, and declaring them pieces art (Marcel Duchamp taking a urinal, signing it 'R.Mutt 1917', and calling it Fountain, being probably the most famous instance), I'm still not sure that I would call my found pieces art in the same way that I'd call my more laboured works art. But maybe that will change once I start showing them. In fact, I'd love to organize a show of artists' collections of objects. Although, thinking about it, I'm pretty sure that the Barbican Gallery did something similar to that last year - oh well!

For now I'll just be content calling these my Minimal Intervention Pieces. I've collected quite a few of them over the years, so I think that it's time that I finally started showing them – even if it is just on my blog for now. This first piece (I'll post more over the coming months) currently hangs above my bedroom door and is made up of two objects that were given to me by two separate friends. One half of the piece is a vintage, leather and steel, child's baseball mask, and the other is a pair of old horns – probably antelope. I'm not sure why I originally put the two items together, but to my mind, they produce something greater than the sum of their parts. And isn't that what art is about? (so maybe they are artworks after all).

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