Clare Charnley and Katrien Van Liefferinge
Glass & stone . Brushed steel & waxed hardwoods. . this aesthetic whispers seductive stories of uncomplicated nature in sweet harmony with high technology. It suggests continuity between past and future. A lifestyle uncluttered, paired back. CLEAN.
At ease with its (limited) self. Extreme control as denial of abjection.
Above all it speaks of understated wealth, high taste, high culture.
The process of exploring and developing the implications of this aesthetic to its logical conclusion has led us to produce GOODS.
Our work is not a polemic and is more than a parody of certain design aesthetics. It is important that it is genuinely seductive and elicits complex reactions..
Sets of small objects made from rat skins are displayed on five purpose made units, made from Welsh riven slate. The objects and their display are interdependent. Together they invite you to handle the rat objects as you would goods in a shop. Although made from material that would conventionally repel, the rat-skin-things have been rendered soooo desirable that you long to touch and to own. A taboo has been questioned.
We looked at ways in which 'the natural' functions the as exotic 'other' within contemporary dreams of fashionable urban lifestyles. This style is generally characterised by the juxtaposition of binaries - crude/ engineered raw/sophisticated natural/man made. Goods extrapolates a contemporary minimalist aesthetic to the extent that, although the display-objects are made from natural material, this has been handled with such control that it functions as high-tech.
The rat skins are formed into a range of products without purpose - though they feel as if there is a purpose you can't quite put your finger on. Each different type of rat-skin-thing stacks/slots/dangles in it's appointed place (control again). The little fractured bodies become many formed, flipping between horror and humour. There are moments when we empathise with them..
Clare Charnley, artist/sculptor Originally an examination of romantic imagination, recent work with rat skins for The New Art Gallery, Walsall (currently touring) has led to an interest in nature as filth. Also methods of presentation that mask/deny, and therefore highlight, this. Katrien Van Liefferinge, designer/maker Interest in problematic relationship between style and commerce, the promotion of consumerism through association with philosophies based on their opposite, the perceived hierarchy of design, craft and art. Has recently completed design and construction of display for exhibition for the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool (currently touring). In this case High Street Tack is inserted in grandiose gallery.