After having a conversation with one of my peers about how she felt about choosing between charities and prioritising different causes, she said that she would rather just ‘not help or give any money at all than have to pick just one’. This made me start to think about the multiple people that I know who would have a similar response or attitude to my friend. This then made me think about finding a way of categorising individuals into a representative sculpture that would incompass many different types of people, almost like a cross section of society. I was particularly thinking about all of the different ways that people like to present themselves in society through their styles and the materialistic possessions that they own. I thought back to a previous project when I had referenced Marcel Duchamp who was the first champion of ‘readymade’ art, as he took objects that had an everyday function like a mass produced urinal and put it in the context of a gallery space, turning it into a piece of art. I think that in my project I am keen to use readymade objects and re appropriate them to try to create figurative sculptures. I decided to use chairs as the base of the sculptures as chairs can already have a lot of figurative qualities to them.
I looked at the artist Nicole Wermers who combined chairs and coats in her 2015 piece ‘infrastruktur’, as she has the lining of each of the fur coats sewn over the backs of the chairs so that the two ready made items became one entity. Through this art piece Wermers was commenting on the way in which people claim public chairs by placing their jackets over them. I think that this piece of art is very interesting and I am also very interested in combining readymade objects with a chair so that they become one entity, as I would like all of the chairs to contribute to the figurative qualities not just act as a dumping ground for multiple objects. I want to make a solid square out of the chairs so I will either have 9 or 16 chairs. I want them to all be a different kinds of chairs. I am going to paint them all pure white to connote the purity and ultimate simplicity of true Altruism and then contrast that with the physical human elements that I am going to use to build around the chairs and suggest specific characters.
I have spent the week trying to construct one of these sculptures so that I can see how it will look with a solid white chair. I used Laura as the subject for the chair, as the category of an indecisive deeply intellectual person is to be modeled off Laura, as I want this sculpture to be less generalised and seem more individualistic, to act as an encompassing bracket for ‘the individuals’ category. I took many, many reference photos of her to use as inspiration for how I wanted to put together the chair.
I ended up focusing on three elements that I think best showed of her particular personality, I looked at her make up because she always puts a lot of glitter on her cheeks, and iridescent stars. I also focused on her slouchy oversized knitted jumper and the last thing that I focused on is her love of oranges.
I started of by taking one of the chairs that we have in college and placed her jumper over the back of the chair so that it almost looks like it is engulfing the chair in a similar way to Laura, when she is sitting on a chair she always slouches back into it, and this is a key physical representation of her own personality which is very reserved. I also added a bit of stuffing to add a small amount of volume to the jumper. I then positioned her arms in the way that she often holds them. I debated adding some wire to the inside of the jumper to position it in a certain way, but then I decided that Laura is so slouchy that it would not lot look quite right adding some rigidity to the jumper.
I then decided to get Laura herself to peel an orange so that it would be completely random in the exact way that Laura would peel an orange. I then put some of the peel on the chair and some on the floor to make it seem as if it had fallen naturally.
I painted the chair white, added the jumper and the orange, and then took some face glitter and placed two strips on the chair in a way to represent the way in which Laura puts glitter on her face. The white paint lifts the whole sculpture and ties it all together very well.
I am pleased with the overall outcome of the sculpture because although it is simple it represents Laura very well but it is also figurative which means that it could represent any number of different people in that type of category.
Whilst I was making this first sculpture I also started to consider how I could incorporate the verbal opinions of the people I spoke to as a part of the final piece.
I looked at the artist Gillian Wearing, and her 1997 piece ‘2 into 1’. The video shows two boys talking as if they have the voice of their mother and visa versa. Although her reasons for creating this piece are very different from what my project is about I really liked the way that she contrasts the image and the voices and it got me to thinking about how I could possibly use sound clips of voices in my installation so that each sound clip would correspond with one of the categories of people represented on the chair. But in a way that the viewer of the piece would be unable to tell which sound clip was for which chair, which would tie in with the idea that the closest way to being altruistic comes from anonymity.