Re object Curated by Sophie Loss

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Re object

Re object: The idea for this exhibition was to give each contributing artist the same originating object as a starting point for a new piece of work. Identical oak wedges were sent to sixteen invited artists, in response to which they have made exciting and unexpected works. The show includes pieces in sound, books, film/projection, photography, drawing, site-specific installation and performance. The project was initiated and curated by Sophie Loss. The oak wedge was designed by John McDowall and made by Jonny Buck at the Bradford Woodworkers workshop.

Re object was shown at The Tetley, Leeds, from 6 to 22 March 2015, with the opening coinciding with the 18th International Artists' Book Fair, Leeds.

Sophie Loss writes: The work in this exhibition is the outcome of sixteen artists' encounters with the same given subject/object. Read on for a glimpse behind the scenes of how we made it happen.

Initiating this project was easy. For years or a long time I have toyed with the idea of staging a show where the subject is an object rather than words. I imagined a mundane object, something that has no particular qualities other than its familiar form and use, such as a plastic bucket or a four-legged stool. Choosing to give an object rather than words made sense or as Jonathan Swift writes in Gulliver's Travels '... since Words are only the Names for Things, it would be more convenient for men to carry about them such Things, as were necessary to express the particular Business they are to discourse on ... expressing themselves by Things'. Actually holding a thing in your hand differs from the words, names. There is a deeper more complex relationship between the two within philosophy and linguistics. Holding a physical object takes me on a different journey to the one with language. This show is an opportunity for the participating artists and myself, since I am one of them, to explore this issue of Things versus Words.

For this project/exhibition I have invited artists whose work I like and value to form a fresh, exciting and cohesive multi-disciplinary exhibition, in response to which they have made works in sound, books, film/projection, photography, performance and anything else exciting and unexpected.

The object they were given as the starting point for a new piece of work, the same initiating object, was a wooden wedge. I found that the physical qualities of the wedge have imprinted themselves like a photographic image on me and most of my ideas have come from there. To my surprise in getting to know it by touching/looking/smelling it I discovered beauty in the wooden object that I had not observed before. Almost all the artists participating made similar comments. Maybe the same happens with all objects? It turned out that a wedge is one of Six Simple Machines giving the object a certain gravitas. It was not just a wedge to secure doors. It was a machine for making new art. I love the opportunity to be surprised, tickled, delighted by the varied works that emerged from one simple wooden wedge.

The outcome of the encounter between the artists and the wedge produced works that range from interpretations, associations and memories to addressing its formal qualities and function.

In the process of curating this exhibition my aspiration has been to obtain the right tones from each work, bring together all the works into one harmonious piece, with some colourful cacophonous individual punctuation, building to a unified experience capable of being more than the sum of its parts. I could think of myself as a conductor of works of art for an exhibition, a bit like ... Kantor who conducted the sea. (See Tadeusz Kantor - Panoramic Sea Happening, Osieki 1967.) Like him I am aware of my limitations. Like him I face the artists, I wave my arms and I wear black, we link in narrative possibilities and we colour how the other is viewed.

This has been a stimulating project with moments of exuberance for the participants and myself both as the curator and participating artist, without the artists creating their stimulating works there would not be an exhibition. So thank you artists.

(This article was first published in PAGES Collections and collaborations, Wild Pansy Press, Leeds 2015.)


Louise Atkinson, Simple Machine (2015)
For the Re Object project I will be exhibiting a brass plaque with a written interpretation of the object inscribed on it. The interpretation consider the wedge as an artwork from an anthropological perspective, and will take into account the history of the wedge in general, as one of the 6 simple machines, as well as the specific history of this particular object and the networks of its inception.

Marco Calí, VANITAS (2015)
Isn't it odd that throughout history humans have taken organic materials, such as shells, wood, wool or ivory, and worked them into some geometric form. We have smoothed, beautified, polished and chipped away, often with a lot of effort and cost. Even Rococo furniture say, encrusted as it is with putti and spiraling columns and clawed feet has, at its heart, a geometric centre. The angled box of the writing desk, or the oblong of a wardrobe. It is through this combination of geometry and finish that life is breathed into a material. Or perhaps, that its death is rubbed away. A fallacy of course, a myth that is pleasing to the eye and that fools the brain.

Kathryn Faulkner, Confluence (2015)
This oak wedge is a crafted object that might have come from a Montessori toy box. It feels good to handle and admire its architectural form. Journeying with it around iconic sites in London I found echoes of its various shapes in the Barbican, the Shard, and elsewhere. Photographing it through a pinhole creates an exaggerated perspective and an infinite depth of field so that everything in the picture registers as equally sharp. This means that an equivalence in scale can occur; the small becomes mighty as the insignificant takes centre stage within a powerful cityscape. But it is an illusory transformation, the oak wedge is contingent and, like us, can get lost and swept away by the city that frames it temporarily. As such, the image speaks of Time; the growth of the city as opposed to the tree, photographic time, and my personal time here in London.

Judy Goldhill, Forest: Concrete: Sea (2015)
This hard wooden triangle chimes with familiar absences. It is reminiscent of a desolate local structure- the only groyne for miles, which protrudes into the North Sea on a stretch of beach between where I live and the next town.
As an entry, a wedge, into the sea, it recollects former vibrant times for this place: the site of a bustling port, now completely gone, with only a derelict vestige now, as the remains of 16th century seafaring activities.
The oak resonates with the now disappeared oak forests of Suffolk which were used for shipbuilding.
One photographic image will triangulate these cultural geographies in a single meeting place of the sea, sky and earth. Printed on solid oak, the image of this now concrete wedge, will ripple in the kind of wild weather which has washed away so much of this coastline and its sites.

Jane Grisewood, After Archimedes (2015)
A wooden wedge ... my first response as I turned the object over in my hand was the beauty of its simplicity, its form and its function. I had only the day before been inspired by a similar small wedge, painted white, firmly fixing the door in John Latham's Flat Time House. Time triggered my thoughts back to Archimedes' wedges that enabled his measurement of the circle, and forward to the twentieth-century geometric abstraction of Lygia Clark’s sculptural Cocoons, both underpinning my three-dimensional graphite drawing. Performative in its making, not only encompassing movement inherent in the drawing process itself, but also in the folding of the paper. The repeated images mimic the actions of a wedge (pushing together or apart), adding to the element of construction and surface tension in the work.

Lydia Julien, Gnash, Grate, Abrade (2015)
In responding to the object, my first sense was the smell, the odour was so heavy. It was evocative of workshop environs and carpentry.
Carpentry of a kind that was full of mindless labour, an object set to as a simple task to be performed time after time, lesson after lesson.
I was reminded of institutions and classrooms, constantly biting away at the wood; yet no great feat was accomplished.
The object, the wedge of wood was there to be a marker of grade, achievement. Foremost a physical task to pass the time.
Rolling it in my hands, there is an intention to sand it to a softer state, an ability to break it down but it also visualises what I recall.
Sand, sand, blow.
Clouds, pools of sawdust in the air, then collecting on the floor, in the corners. The transfiguration within the sweaty muscular activity.

Sharon Kivland, FOX & WEDGE (2015)
In a series of reflexive responses to a finely-made oak wedge: the wedge, now painted, performs its eponymous duty, holding open the pages of a French paperback edition of Capital by Karl Marx, the section on the commodity, chapter three. The book is placed on a small oak side table. The pages of the book are foxed. From under the table a stuffed fox emerges, trailing an antique silk negligée in its jaws. On the wall behind the table hangs a drawing in ink, framed in dark oak, a sketch of a woman wearing a negligée, in the style of a fashion illustration from the 1950s. She appears to be holding a red shape, poorly rendered, which is clearly intended to be the red wedge in the book on the table in front of it. The pink of the paper matches the colour of the material of the silk negligée.
Ink drawing with egg tempera on Canson paper, 210 mm x 295 mm, oak frame, 310 mm x 395 mm, with stuffed fox, antique silk negligée, book, oak wedge, and table.

Ingrid Jensen, A Problem Solving Meditation (2015)
People are imaginative in solving problems and need a variety of tools. A wedge is useful both practically and metaphorically. It might open a crack to permit insertion of better leverage, and it can help maintain a hard-won position, such as a door opened onto a new opportunity. Securing a new state while contemplating how to get to the next stage gives a breathing space ... time for contemplation and meditation on how the parts might fit together, or be taken apart and rearranged. The solution will come from somewhere.

Yaron Lapid, Self-portrait (2015)
The absurdity of this familiar situation always strike me as the most basic truths in life. In moments of clarity I have to admit: I am the biggest obstacle in my plans.

Simon Lewandowski, cid:E0E44C82-E5EA-4096-B472-AE4EB1D97882 (2015)
"Unusually, Simon Lewandowski has nothing to say about what he has made, why he made it or what its purpose might be."

Sophie Loss, Ahhh3 (2015)
This installation consists of a gallery wall, angled to it a paper plane and a projection of animated abstract round forms that disappear into a wedge shaped void.
The kinetic image attempts to merge its flitting insubstantial ephemeral character with the weighty architectural physicality of the wall. In this meeting of the two elements emerges a space that is neither one nor the other; a space between the passive wall and the active film which creates a unfamiliar new territory. This is where the un-visible happens, where all movement appears to stop. Where two disparate elements meet, a verso faces recto of a closed book.
In my work I like 'what if' situations where the visible is rendered doubtful, where the demarcation of the real and imagined becomes unclear.

John McDowall, A small (or large) machine
A flip-book of black and white photographs in which the sequence of pages/animation shows a left to right pan along the length of the wooden wedge, from the thick to the thin end (or the reverse, if viewed from the back to the front cover). This represented diminishment of volume is echoed in the progressive reduction of thickness of the book as the pages are flicked through.
The title is taken from William Carlos Williams' introduction to his collection of poems The Wedge, in this he relates a poem to a machine, "... its movement is intrinsic, undulant, a physical more than literary character".
In the exhibition the book, and its activation, is accompanied by the sound of J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E minor BWV 548, which begins with one note, then two either side forming a minor third, gradually expanding.
These analogies allude to the form and functional qualities of a wedge, correspondences further reflected in the mechanical action of the turning of pages and the operational components of a pipe organ.

Steve Perfect, Interior (2015)
Drawing on memories that emerged from the envelope with the wedge, I seek to restage an event that took place many years ago, in a garage, chopping wood.
Having been the catalyst of involuntary memory, the wedge intervenes again, opened out, then closed around the action, its lines and angles forming the interior scene.

Carl Slater, Intersection (XY) (2015)
Advancing from the starting point of an elementary building block and adopting a new reproduction strategy, the intention is to dismantle the relationship between form and content. By incorporating the vertical (w) and horizontal (f) Intersection (XY) expands its parameters to incorporate the given environment interrogating its function, limits and possibilities of proximity.

Chris Taylor, Home from Home (2015)
The oak wedge, unblemished, finds its place amongst the others, similar but different.

Cally Trench , A Net of a Wedge (2015)
This drawing maps all six faces of the oak wedge, showing the patterns of the grain that result from the different angles of cut. In mathematical terms, the drawing is a 'net', a type of diagram of a three-dimensional object, which could be cut out and folded to remake the external surface of the object. The drawing magnifies the orginal wedge by 2.5 times. This is a common magnification in the kind of magnifying glasses used by children to examine insects, stamps and the backs of their hands. Normally, drawings of objects try to retain a sense of their 3-dimensionality through perspective and shading. This drawing, by contrast, converts the wedge into a purely flat 2-dimensional surface. It becomes a ghost of a wedge. However, as you look at the drawing, it appears unstable and not quite flat; it seems to want to form itself into a 3-dimensional object.
Ink on watercolour paper, paper size 70 x 70 cm.

Self-portrait  by Yaron Lapid

Yaron Lapid, Self-portrait (2015)


Simple Machine by Louise Atkinson

Louise Atkinson, Simple Machine (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss


Intersection (XY)  by Carl Slater

Carl Slater, Intersection (XY) (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss


After Archimedes  by Jane Grisewood

Jane Grisewood, After Archimedes (2015)


FOX & WEDGE  by Sharon Kivland

Sharon Kivland, Detail of FOX & WEDGE (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench


Confluence by Kathryn Faulkner

Kathryn Faulkner, Confluence (2015)


Gnash, Grate, Abrade  by Lydia Julien

Lydia Julien
Gnash, Grate, Abrade (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench


FOX & WEDGE  by Sharon Kivland

Sharon Kivland, Detail of FOX & WEDGE (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Forest: Concrete: Sea  by Judy Goldhill

Judy Goldhill
Forest: Concrete: Sea (2015)

Forest: Concrete: Sea  by Judy Goldhill

Judy Goldhill, Forest: Concrete: Sea (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Confluence by Kathryn Faulkner

Kathryn Faulkner, Confluence (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

Self-portrait  by Yaron Lapid

Yaron Lapid, Self-portrait (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

After Archimedes  by Jane Grisewood

Jane Grisewood, After Archimedes (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Sophie Loss

Gnash, Grate, Abrade  by Lydia Julien

Lydia Julien, Gnash, Grate, Abrade (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Gnash, Grate, Abrade  by Lydia Julien

Lydia Julien
Gnash, Grate, Abrade (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Gnash, Grate, Abrade  by Lydia Julien

Lydia Julien
Gnash, Grate, Abrade (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Gnash, Grate, Abrade  by Lydia Julien

Lydia Julien
Gnash, Grate, Abrade (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

FOX & WEDGE  by Sharon Kivland

Sharon Kivland, FOX & WEDGE (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

FOX & WEDGE  by Sharon Kivland

Sharon Kivland
FOX & WEDGE (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

Ahhh3  by Sophie Loss

Sophie Loss
Ahhh3
(2015)

A Problem Solving Meditation  by Ingrid Jensen

Ingrid Jensen
A Problem Solving Meditation
(2015)

A Problem Solving Meditation  by Ingrid Jensen

Ingrid Jensen
A Problem Solving Meditation (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

A Problem Solving Meditation  by Ingrid Jensen

Ingrid Jensen
A Problem Solving Meditation (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

VANITAS by Marco Calí

Marco Calí
VANITAS (2015)

VANITAS by Marco Calí

Marco Calí, VANITAS (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

cid:E0E44C82-E5EA-4096-B472-AE4EB1D97882  by Simon Lewandowski

Simon Lewandowski
cid:E0E44C82-E5EA-4096-B472-AE4EB1D97882 (2015)

cid:E0E44C82-E5EA-4096-B472-AE4EB1D97882  by Simon Lewandowski

Simon Lewandowski
cid:E0E44C82-E5EA-4096-B472-AE4EB1D97882 (2015)

cid:E0E44C82-E5EA-4096-B472-AE4EB1D97882  by Simon Lewandowski

Simon Lewandowski
cid:E0E44C82-E5EA-4096-B472-AE4EB1D97882 (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds
Photograph: Cally Trench

A small (or large) machine  by John McDowall

John McDowall
A small (or large) machine (2015)

Interior  by Steve Perfect

Steve Perfect, Interior (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

Interior  by Steve Perfect

Steve Perfect
Interior (2015) (Working drawing)

Interior  by Steve Perfect

Steve Perfect, Interior (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Intersection (XY)  by Carl Slater

Carl Slater
Intersection (XY) (2015)

Intersection (XY)  by Carl Slater

Carl Slater, Intersection (XY) (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

Home from Home  by Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor, Home from Home (2015)
Photograph: Sophie Loss

Home from Home  by Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor, Home from Home (2015)
Photograph: Cally Trench

A Net of a Wedge  by Cally Trench

Cally Trench
A Net of a Wedge (2015)

A Net of a Wedge  by Cally Trench

Cally Trench
Detail of A Net of a Wedge (2015)

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Sophie Loss

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Sophie Loss

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Sophie Loss

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss, 2015

Re Object, curated by Sophie Loss
The Tetley, Leeds Photograph: Cally Trench

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