Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Artist Stuart Haygarth's Strand and Red 174

I went along yesterday to witness at the Design Museum  an interesting (public) conversation between the Design Museum Director Deyan Sudjic and artist Stuart Haygarth.
An example and the book 'Strand'

At the start Deyan spoke about how the Design Museum was now involved with more than Mass products and certainly the work of Haygarth is to date singular in the extreme.

Listening to the conversation I  would offer the following comments - Artists and for that matter Museum Directors are increasingly required to engage with the wider public, they need to (sorry to say) 'sell' their  vision and perspective - it's not always easy and it means that the brasher better performers get that extra publicity.

The story of Haygarth's trajectory from Graphics BA  to (what he agreed) is now basically his life as a conceptual artist.

Strand the work and book he spoke about principally describes a journey (yes quite literally here) from Gravesend (Kent) to Land's end (Cornwall) collecting selected  ephemera from the beaches he walked across over 38 days.

The items were selected (otherwise the work would be made up mainly of translucent water bottles) and when Stuart got back to his studio the items were categorised by type or colour .

Some of the categories that were used:
Toys, Shoes, Vinyl flooring, Fishing lures and various colours (often when an item was not clearly within a type category)
The near obligatory book sale

Stuart spoke well about the mechanics of his trip - he'd use his camper van as a home, he deployed a litter picker (to save his back)  and changed his collecting vessel from a  trolley to an army style kit bag, Stuart noted the profusion of lighters that were living up to their name of disposable.

I'm not sure if I (these days)  look for meaning and direction when it is not there but I was surprised that Stuart did not consider his work as part of an environmental movement  (particularly Strand), he did though say he hated waste  - the environmental aspect  seemed to me to be difficult to avoid when such a vast amount of plastic was witnessed by Stuart on the  English beaches he walked across.

It also felt a little disingenuous not to be analytic  of the narrative and content  of a work commissioned by Macmillan Cancer that recorded a walk from Gravesend to Land's End - this seems full of significance to me.

I liked some of the things that were said such as how 'he's inspired by the banal everyday objects that we overlook'  it was also good to have a reference for Stuart's own furrow namely the part played by  American  artist Joseph Cornell's Assemblages.

Red 174

Back on transport and here's a red boat

A non-Boaty McBoat face

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