Show: A Useful Force. Kevin Hunt.
Tell: “I’m really interested in the point where an object stops being just an object and becomes sculpture, becomes art. This work is – or actually used to be – a necklace that has been made to stand upright on its end, completely straight, kind of like a charmed snake or something.
“Before that gesture occurred, the necklace was quite naff and tacky, or so it would generally be construed. I found it in a charity shop in Garston, near where I grew up. The guy actually gave it me for free. However, the 21 individual shapes that the necklace comprises of are really perfectly made; they have a certain sophistication that I believe bypasses any connotation of them being just a shitty necklace.
“I like to think in becoming sculpture, this inherent sophistication is revealed and the objects are now free to exist as the things that they really are. It all sounds like a very simple; base means of talking about making art, but to me there is a whole load of complicated repercussions in the decision to make this little set of beautifully made, almost spherical black glossy shapes, with countless sides into a sculpture.
“Of course I am aware that these repercussions may be esoterically mine alone and may only relate to me, if that makes sense, but I hope that somebody somewhere may feel the same as me and that is the key to the purpose of the work.”
“Working in this way can be difficult in that anything I make is reliant on me finding the right kind of materials to work with. It’s a constant look out for things wherever I go, which in turn just imbues it more and more into my life and every other thing that I do. I can be shopping for tomatoes in Tesco, frustrated by the lack of variety or getting a filling at the dentist and suddenly see something out of the corner of my eye that pulls everything together. For me it’s one big amorphous lump that every so often spits out another work.
“This kind of gesture in my work is becoming more and more minimal as time goes on, more ‘sleight of hand’ if you like, and that relates to a whole load of interests I have at the moment from what it may mean to handle something to magic. I made another similar work last year using an old tatty peach necklace called Seeing is Believing, both titles are pulled directly from the instruction manual of the Paul Daniels magic set I had as a child, they are the names of magic tricks. I enjoy that connection between childhood influences, illusion and something quite funny coming together; it’s an on-going preoccupation.
“I also like how, in the whole of this description, I still haven’t told you how the necklace actually does stand on its end. Think of it as a trick if you like, it’s doing the thing its namesake beckons it to be.”
Info: Kevin Hunt lives and works in Liverpool and makes sculpture using found, redundant objects, particularly furniture which is reconfigured into something new. He has been nominated for the Liverpool Art Prize 2013.
A Useful Force appears in easy does it, an evolving trilogy of exhibitions curated by Kevin Hunt. Having shown at David Dale Gallery, Glasgow in February 2013, it tours to Aid & Abet in Cambridge from 6 June 2013 and Supercollider in Blackpool opening 23 August 2013.
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