Tutorial with artist (Jonathan Parsons)

Following on from my last tutorial with Jonathan we talked more about the material I use rather than the work itself. Understanding the material really helped to understand why I had chosen it and how I could take the work forward.

Last year I had researched alot about the readymade in art but not that much about the readymade as a material. Jonathan pointed out to me that through my work I seem to rehabilitate an object, through adding it to another. Both these object become my materials. It became clear that I needed to research the tradition of found objects, reading more critical essays alongside the history. Reading “The Readymade and The Tube of Paint” by Theirry th Duve really helped to clarify my thoughts about my choice of material.

The text discuses the major impact of industrialisation had in the production of art. Photography pushed painting away from its primary function. Paint tubes became disposable and readily available. In a wider context to the readymade it’s about the division of laubor. Everything is a readymade.

This spured me on to look more at the context surounding  my chosen material of the paperclip.  What is the significance of a paperclip? For me it’s it redundancy. Just like industrialisation pushed painting out in favour of photography, the digital age has pushed aside paperclips. Their primary function being for holding paper together, attachment. Now papercoppies are slowly faiding out of insistence , surpassed by emails and PDFs. Even handing in an essay now had no need for a hard copy.

However even now in this digital age the paperclip still remains the universal symbol for an attachment. Will it get to a point where people forget paperclips for their use and only see them as this symbol? This has already happened with the Floppy Disk, their are people alive today who have no idea what a floppy disk was, and yet that see it everytime the hit the save button.

This got me into thinking about Visual Theory and Semiotics. Starting simply you have a icon a thing which refers to something else but looks like what it refers to. In a way my piece ‘Net of Steel’ is an icon, it is not itself a fishing net at least not in the traditional sence yet it’s apperience looks like it.


Next you get a little more complicated with a Symbol the rules for this are made up. A symbol does it resemble, it represents something relying on an agreed set of symbols that we have to learn.

We also have an index whic is a sign that is a connection between itself and that which it is signifing. It has a physical link. Looking into this really helped to open up how I was thinking about the material and my work in general. I was getting bogged down in the process and neglectig the context.

This lead into the idea of “Moads of Representation” the idea of things standing in for other things. This is certainly true of my work the subsitution of one material for another is something I am very interested in. As well as pushing this new material to assess its functionality. This leads onto my ideas for the badminton court, I intend to make the work inetactive to put the functionality of my substituted objects to the rest, through vigorous use an play. Documenting the action aswell as the predicted destruction of the work.


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