Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Making Sense catalogue essay

We might be a few days late, but as we say here at CVHQ, "Butter late than never!" (coming up a close second: "always pun when you can"). Here is the accompanying catalogue essay to the Making Sense exhibition, which was recently on display in Gallery 2 until last Saturday. The exhibition was curated by inhouse super-curator Nella Themelios and featured the work of 5 artists: Cherelyn Brearley, Lauren Brown, ffixxed, Ed Janssen and Emma White. For more information on the exhibition including images, visit here and here.


Making Sense amalgamates a number of conceptual premises. First the notion that 'everyday life' is a surreptitious form of production, a 'practice' with a systematic logic of its own. This thinking derives from the French philosopher Michel de Certeau for whom 'consumption' is a form of 'making': everyday life as an aggregate of the many ways we negotiate the objects, spaces and representations comprising the cultural landscape.[1] We are always/already 'making do' or 'making of' that which is already 'made'. Second, the notion of the everyday as a particular concern for craft practice. Current debates have seen the artistic use of found or common materials subsumed under the agenda of sustainability: craft process has become a kind of conduit for the critique of the excesses of production.

All of the emerging artists in Making Sense use the repetitive choreography of the hand-made to explore the nuances of everyday life. Although diverse in technical application and aesthetic form, the artists represented begin from the non-monumental, benign facets of daily existence. The emphasis here is not so much on 're-making' as it is on 're-marking': referencing the everyday in the mode of tautology or superfluous repetition. The work in Making Sense attempts to think through systems of value via the ‘surplus’, the trace or remainder of everyday life that does not have a place or that remains unincorporated.[2]

[1] Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (California and London: University of California Press, 1984) xii
[2] See Slavoj Zizek, For They Know What They Do (London: Verso, 2002)

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