12th July - 22nd August 2013
Interruption is a solo exhibition by Lee Machell in which a Duchampian lexicon of playful dissent pervades the space of Platform A. In an assembly of multiple already made objects, Machell invokes the Duchampian concept of the “readymade” in works such as Bag (2010), Handle (2012), and Camera (2013). Machell’s output involves a cerebral appropriation of commonplace objects within a practice that is primarily sculptural; works such as Handle, a sculpture in which two paint tubs’ handles interlock in order to create a continuous loop, insinuates the erotic traces of Duchampian humour inherent in each object as one handle is concave, and therefore “female”, and one is convex, and therefore “male”.
Central to Machell’s works in Interruption is the notion that valueless items with latent use-value shift into valuable items that are subsequently stripped of their utility, a premise that originates with Fountain (1917), Duchamp’s seminal “readymade”. In Bag (2010) Machell subverts sculptural conventions as the object – a paper bag – sits precariously atop a thin wooden rod with only the vertical support of the wall to maintain its asymmetrical balance. Matches (2013) is a continuation of Machell’s site-specific interventions at Red Gallery (Hull), Project Space Leeds (Leeds), and Carter Presents (London) that use matches to create an impermanent line that cuts across the wall(s) of the space, an anarchic act that results in an ephemeral vestige within each space.
Camera (2013) is an object whose provenance is uncertain: It could be a photograph of a sculpture of the Minolta XD7 camera or even a computer-generated image of a sculpture of the camera. The Minolta XD7 as a marble sculpture infers that the object is original and valuable, akin to that of a sculpture; its presence in an advertisement for the Minolta XD7 in the October 1978 issue of National Geographic serves to disseminate it to a mass audience whereby its value as an object is minimal as it is endlessly repeated. In its current state as Camera (2013) Machell confers upon it the status of sculpture as it references an image of a sculpture as well as its display in Platform A on a horizontal plane.
Machell’s playful juxtaposition of works in Platform A reaffirms his Duchampian motives: Interrupt convention, Interrupt space.
Lee Machell lives and works in Manchester. He is represented by Untitled Gallery, Manchester.
Text by Katie Rutherford (Director, Untitled Gallery).