A continuous exercise of questioning the essence of art-making, first and foremost as an everyday activity, has ushered me into the depths of Cultural Theory. French thinker Henri Lefebvre was the first person to ever carry the everyday life onto the philosophical field of discussion. A trivial and repetitive routine for many people, the everyday, has been since then, a discursive topic within the critical theory. Following Lefebvre's footsteps, my work is primarily concerned with the production of knowledge within the everyday. As well as suggesting a formalist argument as daily objects as sculptural forms with surface textures and spatial qualities, it also poses ontological questions regarding the existence of everyday objects around which we construct our social reality.
My practice deals with re-using and re-purposing cast out objects, which are no longer wanted to function purposefully; while at the same time, discusses the notion of art-making as an everyday practice, akin to cooking, talking, reading, shopping, and cleaning. These activities all share the same subtly intelligent and tactical nature, so much so, Ancient Greeks named our ways of operating within the everyday “metis”, meaning skill or craft(1).
The ongoing series of works “Idea Generating Machines” define art-making as a tactical apparatus; they are created to celebrate the sculptural possibilities of discarded objects and thus present subjective representations of the mundane within the everyday. The underlying intention of these series of works is to create an intimate way of perceiving abandoned items through a conscious care and attention. The repeated gesture of applying plaster and paint is intended to rid these objects of their practical connotations, to reduce them to their ‘thingness’ in order to redefine and reinterpret them, to form an illusion of mere physical material without a history or a beginning.
The everyday is a junction of different experiences and perspectives. It has a continuous circular rhythm, which keeps together all different varieties of activities and experiences within its gravitational pull. Everyday is repeatedly recreated and recontextualised through every single subjective viewpoint. In other words, it is impossible to find an objective definition for the everyday, as it is constantly brand new. It is fleeting and permeable, yet perpetual and ineradicable at the same time. It is spontaneous and resists becoming fixed. Within my creative process, I intend to present a study of “The Everyday.”
Maurice Blanchot describes “The Everyday” as what we never see for the first time, but only see again(2). In this respect, my sculptural practice can be summarised as an act of reconceptualising everyday objects by modifying their signs and signifiers to ignite an epistemological examination of social reality. I aim to achieve this by bringing these objects into a state of non-hierarchical totality, and utilising the everyday activity of collecting. Collecting implies an approach of overriding the object's commodity character by bestowing upon a personal value. According to Walter Benjamin, the collector "liberates things" from the confinement of functionality. My work also highlights this peculiar act of valuing some objects more than others. Through this endeavour, I aim to raise a question about existing power dynamics within the culture, as well as the hierarchy regarding the critical knowledge of things, and to reveal the revolutionary character of trivial daily life.
(1) de Certeau, M. (1980). General introduction to the practice of everyday. In Highmore, B. (ed.) (2002) The everyday life reader. London: Taylor & Francis. p.70
(2) Blanchot, M. (1962). Everyday speech. In Johnstone, S. (ed.) (2008) The everyday. Cambridge, MA: Whitechapel. p.34