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Stuff Essay

3158 words - 13 pages

It is the ever-increasing familiarity and dependence on domestic objects and appliances that help fuel interest in my artwork. Because of my suburban upbringing and also because of previous artwork of mine that deals with suburbia and repetition, I am interested in the increasing quantity and reproduction of these objects. For example, when an object like a ceiling fan is manufactured over and over again for the masses, the factuality of the fan is reinforced by the amount of similar ceiling fans that existed previously or exist simultaneously. In other words, the more places an object exists, the more it will be considered normal, necessary, and a part of everyday life. Consequently, the demand for the object also most likely increases. I find it intriguing that through repetition, objects develop a so called "truth". These objects are representative of ideals that we hold high, and also of our mortal flaws and blind spots that define who we pretend not to be. It is my intention to challenge the "actuality" of the familiar object.I have chosen to relate my writing and artwork to a few philosophers, critics, and artists that deal with the concepts of the domestic or familiar object. Robert Gober's sculpture consists partly of hand-made domestic items whose "normal" functions have been questioned, altered and repositioned. Jeff Koons, also a sculptor, has produced works that deal with consumer's choices in household items and the class structure they represent. Marcel Duchamp and other Surrealists and Dadaists, with their innovative use of the found and familiar object also have places in this category because of their use of implied function or dysfunction. Jean Baudrillard has written a book entitled Simulacra and Simulation, which addresses our understanding of the "real" in terms of objects and icons. I will also discuss the writing of James Elkins. In his book, The Object Stares Back, he regards seeing as an act that is guided primarily by unconscious desires, sexuality, and blindness. He also discusses the meanings of objects that we surround ourselves with, and how looking at them defines our very being.Marcel Duchamp's use of a urinal in Fountain (1917) marks an important point in art history. Before this, artwork relied greatly on hand-crafting. When Duchamp produced this work, he was really the first to bring into the art historical discourse the discussion of mass-produced objects. With the coming of the industrial revolution, the objects of everyday life that were surrounding people were less often hand-made as they were before. Thinking about Duchamp's urinal now, I can't help but think he was making a remark on the fact that some one or some company had figured that this urinal was just fine for him or anyone else to do their urinating in. This is quite an impersonal feeling when thought of in comparison with an environment made of personal, handmade objects that have a kinship through family or heritage. With the objects that...

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