Philosophical Cannibalism (detail), 2009
Xhibit 09, Arts Gallery, 65 Davies Street, London, W1K 5DA, 5th March to 3rd April
This exhibition is concerned with sustainability and unsustainability so I want to waffle about that.
The white plasticine picks up all the fluff, making it look like recycled paper. Which it is. But not in the normal sense, it can no longer be used as paper, it's been recycled into art instead. During the making, as I kept going over and over, re-thinking and re-processing ideas, this was also a kind of recycling, or possibly a refining. I like the link between these two words. They are opposite but also very similar. When one thinks of recycling one envisages something being used over and over again, until it can be used no more and falls to pieces. And when one thinks of refining, one envisages something very fine and exquisite, a vintage wine or a rare diamond, reaching that point has required a lot of work, constantly going round and round in circles to reach perfection. In this work I was trying to refine through recycling. I was trying to refine my ideas and the paper through the recycling of my ideas and the paper.
These words are very linked to the words in question, 'sustainability' and 'unsustainability'. Through recycling we try to create sustainability, we try to give a product or a material a longer existence, thus prolonging the life of this planet and ourselves. Refining is decadent and wasteful in comparison. It will throw away mistakes, even when they're unnoticeable, to achieve perfection. When I think about the future and imagine the ruined, barren wasteland of a planet which is generally predicted, this refined and decadent behaviour seems inappropriate and unsustainable.
I think the combination of recycling/refining and unsustainability/sustainability doesn't work, but I also think, that's the point. One could continue on this road, going in ever tightening circles, forever. That is the nature of these words. They are ongoing and inconclusive. Like the plasticine. It is refined in the sense that it could be viewed as a monumental waste of time, so much time and attention has been lavished on it by me creating it, it becomes refined because of that. And it's essence of paperness has been purified by making it into art. It is recycling because of the rehashing of an already existing piece of paper.
This piece exists inbetween the 2 extremes, swaying from one to the other. I think.
Quite abstract ..maybe