Monday, 22 February 2016

'Sides to Middle: My Way of Working' in Mending Revealed

Repair is a material act. It starts from that which is already in existence, enters into the objects narrative part way through, a late arrival to the tale. However familiar the act of repairing may become, individual damages always have their own characters; breaks always need personal consideration before repair can begin. The repairer must make decisions, write their part of the story.

My role as repairer is long standing. From stitching patches on my clothes to gluing unfortunate objects, the act of repair and I have a deep relationship. I am fascinated by repair, and by the brokenness which requires repair, which repair requires in order to exist.

Where sides to middle refers to the practice of splitting sheets through worn middles, and stitching the good sides together, through my practice and my artefacts I seek to understand ownership materially and emotionally, moving both process and object from the sides to the middle. My focus is on materials with previous existences and their palimpsests: I look to recast things through making, remaking and repairing.

In The Craftsman, Richard Sennett suggests that 'a model is a proposal rather than a command. Its excellence can stimulate us, not to imitate but to innovate.' (2009, p101) Through the creation of repair models, I propose ways of approaching repair and repairing, sometimes functionally, sometimes not. My repaired or remade objects are considered but not excellent per say, through my work I have rendered many of them not-excellent, possibly even anti-functional. My mends are idiosyncratic - some verge on idiotic - they do not make the object typically useful again.

When I hang my plates on a wall in a gallery, I am aware of the difference to using them to eat from at home. I am aware of their potential position as aesthetic stance only, whatever my intention. These plates and their mends are actuals and potentials, stories and ideas. Stimulation is their aim: to act as provocateur or goad, questioning us questioning them.

Some of my work will be in the exhibition Mending Revealed at Bridport Arts Centre from 4th March - 16th April 2016. I will be speaking about it on 12th March, in the gallery space.

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