Tag Archives: theaster gates

The challenge of finding the found object 

Collage, assemblages, found objects as valid art are all new to me since starting this course. The past three weeks I have diligently scoured the pavements as I walk the 6.2 miles every day to and from home, the station and work find papers and small items. This also leads on from my interest in layering – in this sense with items – from module one.

What a disappointing exercise! Nothing but bottles and bottle tops, drinks cans, sweet wrappers and the odd rizla packet down by the allotments where the kids smoke weed. But why? Is it a sign we are cleaner as a society? Hardly, by the volume of food and drink related detritus. I wonder if anything it is a sign we don’t write on paper as much. Brits are known for being heavy smartphone users. On only two occasions did I spot anything interesting and they were items too large to pick up so I photographed them instead – a shoe and a perfume bottle.

Happily this experience has led to an idea for a drawing but I’m still a little frustrated at the lack of interesting litter (although glad also that we are keeping our towns and cities pretty clean). I rarely wander at lunch but this week also had a stroll around London near where I work and found the same i.e. nothing but the odd food / drink wrapper or can. I read this week about Theaster Gates‘ work and how he uses items found in buildings in his locale, investing the profits in social regeneration e.g. through the Rebuild Foundation which is very impressive. This takes the concept on a level and shows beautifully how art can inspire and benefit communities using profit from found items.