My recent works are produced through a process of assembling a single piece from a number of ready-made commercial puzzles purchased at car boot sales and second-hand shops.
Discarded or rejected mass-produced objects are the initial starting point of the work. Through a painstaking process of cataloguing and matching, some pieces of puzzles can be exchanged producing unique composite images from a number of sources.
Currently I am exhibiting a number of works at the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield as part of the 'Mappin Open' a bombardment of church spires, alpine valleys and English thatched cottages. Showing a large number of works together allows the exhibition itself to become an extension of individual works: interaction between works is possible, repeats of image and movement of pieces. The viewer can tour the show picking up on associations, deconstructing and reconstructing images themselves.
The rich variety of images present on puzzles is immense, a self-contained world of great art works and opulent portrayal. A continual line of idealistic imagery and unreal cultural stereotypes; the perfect English cottage set in the perfect English rose garden. I turn, change and transform these images, liberating them from the constraints of their surrounding environment, allowing them to be reinvented in a new context. Surprising and exciting dialogues emerge, and free associations are produced from an unbounded reserve of imagery.
Using jigsaw puzzles as the medium for my work has allowed for a simultaneous exploration of ideas surrounding both the underlying structure and nature of the object in art with mass-produced imagery and reproduction of high status artworks. The jigsaw puzzle is a great leveller. Imaginary snowbound Bavarian castles and the Mona Lisa occupy the same space, reduced to equal status, low and high art forms combined in a single time and place.
First published: a-n Magazine October 2002 as Ready-made
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