Made for Under the Influence at Siobhan Davies Studios – Part of Studio Manifold’s Starting Point residency with craft collective 60I40. This project asked us to look again at influences on our own work. 2014.
Video mapping and and objects from my mum’s collection
My mum and her friend started a museum when they were 12. It was the beginning of her lifelong passion for making, collecting and curating. She took us to the Museum of Mankind when we were small. We wondered at the mysterious and magic objects. They were full of stories – spurs to our imagination. Artist Eduardo Paolozzi staged an exhibition: Lost Magic Kingdoms in 1986. It was a completely new approach to museum exhibition, taking objects out of context, re-curating and mixing his own work with the artefacts, materials and found objects.
I like to think that my parents’ personal take on the importance of making, collecting, selecting, and curating without hierarchies, reflect Paolozzi’s impulses. He made instinctive connections between art, science, technology, ethnography and archaeology. These ideas have filtered down into my work – I like to find meaning and magic in materials and objects, the extraordinary in the everyday.
Objects from left to right:
- Pomander in a ceramic marmalade pot – This was the smell of our bathroom. The clove-pierced orange is like a strange fetish object, an immortal thing.
- Leather and horn gunpowder container – This was from mum’s early collection, one among several extraordinary objects given to her by a neighbour who had been a missionary in West and Central Africa.
- Clay stamp tool 1982 – Mum’s signature pot marker, her own brand of making.
- Plaster/Coadestone cornice – A painted and gilded acanthus leaf-like design from our old house.
- Nail through an electric flex – this object, found when we were doing building work on the house, has something witchy about it – nails having great symbolism – made even more highly charged by its having been driven through the electrics and ending up as a crucifix.
- Walnut cylinder ruler (warped) – This belonged to my grandad Alex who I never met, who passed on his enthusiasm for absolutely everything to my mum and me. He was a bank manager, keen amateur artist, fireman and traveller and extremely dapper.
- Meteorite shards (we think) – A little material bit of outer space. Mum’s interest in science and the universe is infectious.
- Animal (East Africa), blood mud and bandages – This creature represents the menagerie of fantastic and magical animals we’ve collected from all over the world.Big thanks to Hannah Mason for video mapping help.