November 26, 2011 – January 14, 2012

We are very pleased to present the third exhibition of Clare Stephenson in the gallery.

She-who-is-the-Maker-of-Objects refers to a new figure within Stephenson’s lexicon - a grotesque that presents the collapse between work and life spheres in personified form. Like the collage drag figures in her previous exhibition at Linn Lühn, Parole Vaine (Idle Speech) ‘She’ is part of a series of works that reflect upon the current conditions of art production through theatrical means.

Included in the exhibition is a page from a family photo album revealing photographs taken by the artist in 1982. The photos show a curious cross section of life. Amidst the photos of family members, animals and landscapes is a photograph of the then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visiting the Austin & Pickersgill shipyard in Sunderland, in the north east of England where the artist grew up.

The album page can be seen as an object of self-reflection for the artist and as a personal/political backdrop to the rest of the work. It suggests a time frame, a generational shift in working practices that was a point of reference for other works in the exhibition.

The Venetian Cocktail Glasses are silhouettes of archetypal 1980s cocktail glasses in various stages of completion/consumption. A collision of form morphing together two clichés of this period, they present the immaterial labour around the life of the object. Balanced on found objects that double as both minimalist clichés and overly designed cocktail bar furniture the glasses camply present the social labour intertwined with art consumption.

The miniature Venetian blind sculptures are carriers of information that seem at some point to have malfunctioned. A type of glitch or information crash has occurred and a list of previous works have been cut-up and arranged by chance to form a Dada-esque poem. This poem carries across on to the Deep Fat Fryer, a typically glamourless object associated with speed and precarity in the contemporary work place.
A collaboration with Alex Pollard, this banal object is transformed into a sculpture of comically irrational pseudo-minimalism.

On a plinth we see a collection of fragments relating to previous works by the artist. These relics of surplus production have been turned into an arrangement of melancholic forms that look as if they belong in the threatening light of de Chirico’s metaphysical universe. These eye objects are silk-screened which clearly reveals a raster or Ben-Day mechanical print. The objects are placed on top of powder pink shapes that echo the feel of make-up compacts. Here we see ‘la haute spiritualité de la toilette’* in these stark but ritualistic forms.

* from 'Eloge du Maquillage’ Charles Baudelaire

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