[January 7, 2013]
Nick Pearson has offered a ‘visual interpretation’ of the term: Object abuse.
Title: Japanese Temple
Visiting an ancient temple near Tokyo with a Japanese friend (who was proudly reciting the ancient credentials of the several hundred years-old wooden building she was showing us) I noticed a couple of carpenters working on one of the internal supporting posts. They were replacing it with a new piece of seasoned timber. My friend told me this is quite normal, as the temple requires constant maintenance and had for centuries.
I thought how this ‘ancient object’, like our own skin and other cells, was being continually replaced and renewed. Its physical status, existing only in a constant state of replacement and renewal. Its spiritual or intellectual purpose as a ‘place’ however, staying always the same.
On returning to my studio in London, recollections of that incident triggered off a memory of what some might call a more prosaic, but I believe equally philosophical reference to the status of objects: An episode of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and an exchange that will forever live (at least in my mind) in the tradition of great philosophical ideas, as ‘Trigger’s broom (like ‘Schrödinger’s cat’) ‘
In Sid’s Café, road sweeper Trigger shows Boycie, Del Boy and Rodney a photograph in which a local councillor presents him with a medal for saving the council money.
Trigger: ” . . . I happened to mention to her one day that I’ve had the same broom for twenty years. She was very impressed . . . This old broom has had seventeen new heads and fourteen new handles in its time.”
An object referring to both stories was the result. Thanks to its context, ‘Japanese Temple’ is clearly a sculpture, but as an object, its indexical status is further complicated by being a brand new broom, bought from my local hardware shop and painstakingly repainted/recoated from the tip of the handle to bottom of the bristles with oil paint (like an overlaid 1:1 map of itself) – a treatment which of course, renders it useless.