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Musings on Collecting III

November 11, 2012

Yesterday I went to an open studio and holiday sale. Perhaps because I currently have a small collection of the bottle tops from what I call packages of goo (squeezable fruit and vegetables for kids) in my purse, I was captivated by Sally Curcio’s Bottle Caps assemblage. When I read the accompanying text, I was even more captivated by her description of the piece and her musings on collecting:

The installation “Bottle Caps” consists of over 1400 bottle caps that were collected from friends, anonymous donations, my trash and from visits to the recycling center. The bottle caps are glued to a 6’ x 10’ array of panels.

After their short functional life, bottle caps become garbage. This work resurrects these throw-aways as an artistic medium. The work engages in the most basic and powerful trick of magic and religion: transubstantiation.

This assemblage attempts to evoke our innate fascination with categorizing and collecting, and our bent to be connoisseurs. This collection comically summons this impulse into action. The work offers, in a self consciously naïve way, the self-satisfaction of collecting a “complete” or “large” set of objects, and the need for recognition in publicly displaying this triumph. The process of collecting, organizing, and display is a ritual that attempts to create an oasis of certainty, order, and self-identity.

This composition deliberately confronts the observer with a kind of alien and obsessive attention to precision and order suggesting an unconscious urgency. This translates positively into art that evokes the simplicity and “cleanliness” of minimalism, the brightness of op art, and the innocence of folk art. The sundry shapes and patterns are simple and satisfying, the colors are bright, the format neat, and the materials familiar and everyday, albeit re-contextualized. With this work I try to speak of our perpetual drive to somehow, in some way, perhaps even an outlandish way, try to take control and make sense of things.


From → Collecting

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