Artist Statement

Autumn Assessment 2017, Studio, Studio 3, Uncategorized


The influence that a retail environment can exert over the perceived free will of the consumer disrupts our sense of absolute consumer choice and ability to see ourselves as individuals. The absolutism of the individual is disrupted, as one can be coerced into acting and interacting with commercial spaces in the way that an architect has intended for you. I am interested in how these manipulations manifest themselves within the mind of the individual, and how the experience of the shopping centre as a destination relate to its ‘unique’ sense of highly designed space.

My work was focused on an investigation of the average colour of four different shopping locations within the South of England. I carried out my investigation by travelling to each of the different locations and engaging with the spaces, acting as a shopper, tracing the steps that were intended for me by the directors of the retail space. I documented the retail environments by taking photographs in each location, which I then analysed to find the most prominent colours of each image, combining these to find the average colour of each retail environment.

I wanted to explore colour as a means of analysing the perceived successfulness of the space by the shopper. Colour has an intrinsic tie to emotion, and therefore by quantifying the experience of the space to an assigned average colour, one can experience an emotional account of my travelling investigation purely through colour, without needing to experience the space physically, as it becomes a unifying device of measurement.

I was influenced by the writings Walter Benjamin, in particular ‘The Arcades Project’ (1927-40). Benjamin used this literary collage to describe the full scope of the experience of the Parisian Arcades, from their history, to the merchants and characters that occupied them. Benjamin wrote, “The arcade is a street of lascivious commerce only; it is wholly adapted to arousing desires”; this concept of a romantic place being intrinsically tied to the system of commodity seems an antagonistic binary, however the liaison of desire and commerce still conquers today, as we stroll through our contemporary shopping centres. This prompted me to investigate this relationship between how the form of the space is manipulated for the creation of commodity exchange.

Sharon Kivland’s work has also greatly influenced my practice; ‘La forme-valeur’ (2006) explored a particular shade of pink used for the scent ‘Allure’ by Chanel, as a background to printed quotes from Marx’s ‘Capital Vol. I’. This work debates the fetishism of colour and its ability to entice the viewer and illicit an emotional response, in order to facilitate an exchange of consumer goods. This inspired me to investigate colour myself, using colour as a means of identification and classification, but also of seduction, exploring why colour is chosen within commercial contexts to illicit fetishist responses to the commodity.

Furthermore, I was influenced by Susan Hiller, in particular her work, ‘Dedicated to the Unknown Artists’ (1972-76), as she catalogued postcards of the British seaside through a distinct table format. Inspired by this classification of data through the form of a table, I decided to use excel to conglomerate all of my data, and form a table which shows how the vary between images. I like the format of a table to display data, as its inherent duplicity between ease of use and overwhelming wealth of information at once captivates and consumes the attention of the viewer, hoping to transform their understanding of the data into a perceived experience.

My work’s method of final display was inspired by Mel Bochner, and his ‘aesthetic of administration’. To view the work, one must sit in an office chair and watch a presentation on a laptop featuring screenshots of the excel document. Within this space, the colours of each shopping centre were printed out and displayed in order to contrast the subtle differences in colour between each retail environment. The colours appear very similar but on closer inspection, the differences between one being slightly red, or slightly green suggest the experience of the space to the viewer.

In my future practice, I would like to continue with this method of collecting data and analysing it through colour, and build upon my modes of display in order to recreate the experiences of the investigation through a type of material practice.

Artist Inspiration – Mel Bochner

Artist Influence, Artist Influences, Studio, Studio 3, Uncategorized

‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art’, (1966)


‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art’, (1966)


‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art’, (1966)


‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art’, (1966)


‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art’, (1966)


‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art’, (1966)


‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant to be Viewed as Art’, (1966)


I am very interested in the conceptual works of Mel Bochner, in particularly his 1966 exhibition ‘Working Drawings and Other Visible Things on Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed as Art’. In this exhibition, Bochner assembled a collection of working drawings from artists including Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse and Robert Smithson, as well as from mathematicians, choreographers and engineers. Bochner curated these drawings into four identical volumes of reproduced, copied images of the originl drawings and filed them into binders. These binders were placed upon plinths in the gallery for the public to view.

These working drawings proposed ideas for art, thus creating the work through the manifestations of such created in the viewers head, the work becomes at once universal and deeply personal as what one viewer can imagine from a proposal may be entirely different to the next. These works, which are inherently conceptual, display the notion of art as what one can propose, and can assemble, rather than something which needs to be physically created.

I am very interested in the work of Bochner, in particularly the way that he has displayed the information he has gathered. A large part of my practice which I am currently struggling with is how to display my work effectively, as I have not created anything persay but rather have completed an investigation and the products of my research are what I want to display to the viewer. I am particularly interested in the way that he has used the ‘aesthetics of administration’ in order to bestow upon the work an element of labour from the viewer as the flick through the files, much like they would in an office setting. I am interesting the way that he has collected information, and compiled this within the files in order to produce a work which is the outcome of his curated investigation into what a working drawing can be dependant on the artist. In my own work, I would like to explore a method of display which utilises these administrative aesthetics as well as involving a form of labour within viewing the work, much like the labour of creating the work.

Artist Inspiration – Fabian Saptouw

Artist Influence, Artist Influences, Studio, Studio 3, Uncategorized

Installation View, ‘Unravelled and Rewoven Canvas’, (2006)


Installation View, ‘Unravelled and Rewoven Canvas’, (2006)


Installation View, ‘Unravelled and Rewoven Canvas’, (2006)


Installation View, ‘Unravelled and Rewoven Canvas’, (2006)


Installation View, ‘Unravelled and Rewoven Canvas’, (2006)

Fabian Saptouw’s work ‘Unravelled and Rewoven Canvas’ (2006) is a work that I find incredibly interesting, as the way in which Saptouw creates his work through a process of continual labour, effort and documentation is something I am interested in pushing further in my own work involving labour and time intensive processes.

Saptouw’s work involved him unravelling and reweaving an originally machine made canvas using traditional methods of weaving. Saptouw spent a year working on the project, documenting all his processes and techniques through various forms of media, in order to show the labour-intensive nature of the project, which ended up naturally futile, as he tried to use traditional techniques to perfectly recreate a man-made object.

Saptouw completed all parts of the process himself, even manufacturing all of the hardware required to weave the canvas. His process of unravelling and reweaving involved a rigid methodical process of numbering each of the strands in order to ensure maximum effectiveness for the process. Even though his project consists of resurrecting a form of craft which is fastly fading from the general public domain, his methodical approach to completing the project within a set of pre-determined parameters and rules with strict forms of documentation produces a sense of almost machine-like labour, labour of which results in a product that was created, destroyed and recreated. Saptouw documented the process in a multitude of forms, including installing a CCTV camera in the studio to document the undertaking of the project on video, as well as recording data involving the time taken to complete certain aspects of the unravelling and reweaving process, then using this raw data to create graphs to display trends within these observations of the process.

I am very interested in the process-based practice that Saptouw has created for himself, whereby the laboured process of completing an arguably futile task becomes the nature of the work. I am interested in the way he has recorded his efforts through many different techniques, such as filming himself completing the work and logging forms of time. The parameters set to complete the process, and the strict set of rules when undergoing such become the art, and therefore the actions completed become the nuances, the expression of the work, as a human, with limits and needs, undergoes a rigid task. I am interested in pushing the form of my own work, experimenting with documentation and investigation further in the style of Saptouw, as he creates a process which is labour intensive and labourious, but also inherently romantic in its intentions.

Methods of Display

Studio, Studio 3, Uncategorized

After having completed this terms portion of my shopping centre investigations, including finishing my spreadsheets, my natural next step is looking into how to display the project, and in what ways to present my investigations most effectively.

I am interested in the aesthetics of the spreadsheet itself, and therefore would definitely like to include this within my method of display, as I believe the wealth of difficult information appears as a buzz, and the colours, although mundane create an interesting affect as they cascade down the page. However, I am not sure that this is enough to just present these on their own and therefore, I would like to explore how different artists with similar practices to myself present their work, and whether there is a more effective way of displaying the results of my investigation.