Nick Pearson

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.

Nick Pearson.

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Object abuse asks the question:
who or what is being abused?

Object Abuse has been set up to provide a platform for people to discuss, provoke and question the very nature and orientation of objects. The aim is to readdress the unquestioned drives of our collective pursuits, to turn the tables on the object-subject dynamic.

This investigation’s relevance is reflected in recent developments in philosophy, shifts in our socio-cultural landscape and is finding expression in the visual arts. This questioning of our human-centric perspective is reflected through current ideas found in the works of Bruno Latour, Graham Harman, Quentin Meillassoux, Anselm Franke and others.

The question: what exactly is object abuse is by no means obvious, when you think about it, who is to say the object in question is passive and not active? Also it is worth asking where does the form of abuse originate from? What qualifies abuse, is it quantifiable, can we identify subtler variations? And for that matter; what is an object, or rather can we say what is not an object…with any real certainty?

OA‘s function is to invite a multidisciplinary engagement; to be a forum, a curatorial framework and an archival space.

We welcome expressions of interest and contributions to the ongoing debate.