Exhibition Collaboration with Beth Freer....
As part of Beth's practice, she was exploring the idea of space and objects, and how static objects can be used through placed needs. She asked me if I would be happy to help her by interacting with the cubes by placing my own needs on them, as well as helping her with some games designed with the cubes in mind.
We first used the cubes as a study area, she was writing and reading, while I used them as a table for making my clay cushion. It was really interesting working outside of the studio, and I have done this quite a bit this unit, especially with the interim show. There's something freeing about working in the project spaces, you have so much more space to spread out, but you're also open to people looking at what you're making and potentially asking you about your work.
We then cleared the area and used the cubes we were working at as a dinner table and had our lunch around it. We also filmed it, so we had photographic and film documentation of the process. It reminded me of the times when you were a child, and had a small play table that you would have tea parties on, there was definitely something playful and child like about it, as well as interesting from a furniture and space perspective.
The part that was beneficial to me was being able to use the cubes as plinths for my cushions. I placed all the pieces I had on each cube area, and documented them with a camera. It was interesting seeing the cubes with art pieces on them. It really blurred the pieces so much so that you couldn't tell if they were separate pieces or not. What was even more interesting was seeing my cushions in a gallery context rather than a domestic or studio context. It really changed them as functioning objects, and they appeared to be more like an art piece than a functioning object. The effect that a space has on an object is more stronger than we realise and definitely changes the connotations of the object to the viewer.
Furthermore, it was good to see them being used as cushions as well. Beth needed something to sit on as the floor was hard, and it was interesting how my reaction was that of 'please don't break them' even though I had designed them with use in mind. Perhaps it's the fact that I had hand made them myself and they took quite a long time, and the idea of the hand-made being more precious and valued than manufactured objects, this is something that I'm looking at in terms of craft and art. The value of hand-made craft is the equivalent of the value of art, the only difference is that the hand-made craft generally has a use or purpose, whereas the art object doesn't. This debate is interesting, as to me Art does have a purpose, to be a form of expression for the artist, but does this lead on to a further debate over what purpose is?
Additionally, Beth was interested in my boob applique and suggested that rather make it into an art piece, that I make it into a large broach/fashion piece. This is something that I hadn't considered before, and I think the idea of making fashion pieces could be an interesting development from the cushions. This was going to be a piece that would be wrapped around with wire to relate back to inappropriate touch, but now I want to explore the idea of making it into something wearable. This could relate to the movement #freethenip, as well as showcasing that a woman's breast isn't a sexual object, that it does serve a purpose. I think this idea needs more work and research but I definitely think it is something that I want to look into.
Overall, this has been an interesting experience and an interesting collaboration, and I think it would be interesting collaborating with Beth again, possibly bringing this into an external gallery space and inviting the public to interact with them.