‘Other possibilities for Non-essential Utensils’
(What are we going to do with all this stuff?)
utensils, steel, birch ply
My sculpture is rooted in Modernist aesthetics of form, space and material; in this series, I’ve utilised these to address contemporary concerns about the significance and proliferation of ‘stuff’.
I am intrigued by our perceptions of the desirability, function, and purpose of physical objects, and the different values – economic, cultural, emotional – we attribute to them. These sculptures explore the affective power objects have over us, and the value beyond utility and monetary transaction that can be given by their transformation through art.
I selected utensils which evoke personal memories of an outmoded domestic etiquette in which having the correct utensil for preparing and serving food and drink; butter knives – mustard spoons and sugar tongs for example – characterise a certain type of aspirational respectability. These utensils represent some of the social changes that have happened in my lifetime, with class signifiers redefined and women’s lives transformed. Should they now be simply discarded or are there other possibilities that preserve their resonances and give them a new role?
I decided to incorporate the utensils into a series of small sculptures, using their form and materiality as counterparts to other elements in plywood and steel that I have acquired, shaped and joined. The sculptures have been made so that they can be repositioned into several balanced orientations, creating different spatial relationships.
The scale of the utensils in relation to the other materials makes them seem slightly unhomely, the way seeing familiar objects placed in an unexpected context can changethe meaning of the original object, sometimes in a surreal way.
I am not sure what ‘purpose’ these sculptures have in the world, but felt compelled to make them anyway. This is all part of asking the on-going, loaded (and possibly universal) question: What are we going to do with all this stuff?