Jud Wimhurst | THE NULL AND THE VOID
12 October – 2 November 2019
Humans are born wanting. We need to consume for sustenance. Need and want soon becomes desire and then we learn to consume for pleasure. Over the course of a lifetime we become a conglomerated mass of human and objects. We are like a sedimentary rock made up of layers of conglomerated matter- only we are the binding agent in this case. We are the reason the conglomeration of objects exists. We give them context. We revel in them. We even find comfort in them…so then we want more.
But what makes an object desirable? What gives any particular object value? We do. Value is assigned in the form of financial value, usability or usefulness or perhaps the object is imbued with a less tangible worth, it evokes an almost unexplainable meaning, be it nostalgic, emotional or even spiritual.
Alchemy was the belief that base metals could be turned into gold, but perhaps all that is needed is an alteration to our current value system in order to appreciate any particular object for its very existence, and its value could be equal to that of gold.
Need is one way in which we alter our perception of object value. An empty cardboard box is given very little value until you are moving house and then the need to source empty cardboard boxes is paramount – you may even pay money for something you often discard without a second thought. But beyond need, how willing are we to shift our opinions on the worth of objects? Landfill sites all around the world indicate that we are not that willing and now we are starting to drown in the objects we regard as being of no real value.
The hypocritical problem with being an art object maker in a time of mass object production is that at a glance we could be seen as simply adding to the stockpile. The difference can be found however when considering the consumerist flow model of:
Fortunately, as long as the art object is deemed of value, it can then be an exception to the final step in the consumerist flow model – discard. The art object will instead (hopefully) be looked after in institutions such as museums and galleries or be transferred from one owner/caretaker to the next, which ironically may even increase the worth and value of the object as it does so.
“THE NULL AND THE VOID” is a collection of object based, sculptural artworks that explore our human relationship with objects and the need and want and desire to consume.
Using undervalued objects, such as casts of the hollow voids of product packaging and short term, single use and post consumerist items, the sculptures become new objects imbued with meaning made from other objects already prescribed as useless, defunct and/or no longer needed. Aesthetic inspiration has been taken from Baroque and Rococo art and architecture as they reflect a time when opulence and abundance of objects were celebrated. Sacred object design and iconography related to various spiritual belief systems and secret societies were also an inspiration as the aesthetics used in these areas are tried and true examples of implied and assigned meaning.
In order to make the sculptures a unique process was created which allows the different post consumerist elements to be arranged into desired compositions. A mold is then made of the composition using a reusable molding material and then finally a resin version is cast from the mold. The end result is an impression of the objects captured – a record of the shape of the objects. The actual objects themselves are not encased within the sculpture and are therefore not wasted and can be used again and again to make more compositions. No waste is created as a result of this design and construction process.
Operating in this almost Duchampian tradition where the act of artist intervention using post consumerist objects to make an art object (therefore altering an objects value) raises questions about the psychology of assigned value and the currency of art and culture in a time when we produce more objects than we can possibly even consume.