Photography: Sam StephensonUNIFORM
Lilac City Studio
‘Uniform’ is about the way context and representation influences communication and understanding. The show attempts to draw attention to the roles of the gallery, viewer and artwork in their normal or expected contexts by disrupting the way they interact. The presentation of the work requires the viewer to participate in the creation and transformation of it as a whole, by temporarily exchanging their clothes for wearable artworks and thus becoming involved in the physical apparatus and appearance of the work to necessarily influence where, how and to whom it communicates. Through this act the artist becomes responsible for the safe keeping of the participant’s dress/garb, and they in turn become responsible for the artwork. This delivery of the work provides an opportunity for play within notions of labour and identity inherent in the production and display of artwork, by deliberately allowing for the trading or combining of one form of labour and identity with another, and the passing of responsibility between traditional roles.
The wearable artworks, ‘Uniform’, are paired with wall hanging works, ‘Soft Paintings’, which aim to maintain a link to the gallery wall as the traditional site of art and also to one another through visual similarity. Both parts of the set are made from the same cloth and hang loosely on their structural support. One is firmly attached to the gallery wall, while the other is free to move away from it. As the participant moves beyond the zone of the gallery, straining their tie, an avenue is provided for the work to be shared in wider contexts beyond the artists’ anticipation and agency. By the time the show draws to a close everything is returned to its original place, but, hopefully, it has been transformed in the transition.