House of Propellors is a gallery I’ve wanted to write about for a little while now, and what better excuse than the opening of a fantastic show by Chilean artist Livia Marin. Instantly fascinating, but with a depth of concept that left us eager to find out more…
Hi Livia, your new show looks really interesting – can you tell us a little about what you do and why you’ve decided to exhibit the pieces you have?
I pursued an art career in Chile. I have exhibited widely both in Chile and abroad (Argentina, Brazil, Sweden, USA). I have lived and worked in London for five years and am currently completing a practiced led PhD programme at Goldsmiths College. Regarding my practice and this specific show, Broken Things, is a project I have been developing during the last two years and inquires into the issues of brokenness and recuperation. For the wall piece I’ve appropriated the museum style of restoration which pieces together existing fragments with blank sections to recover the full form of the original. The industrial production of mass-produced pottery used transfer printing for decoration.
The other works in the show somewhat parody this technique by a kind of slippage, which puts the integrity of the object in question. The exhibition as a whole came about as the result of a discussion with curator Cecilia Brunson who invited me to show in The House of Propellers. She had seen some earlier works of the Broken Things series in a two-person show that I took part in earlier this year in Santiago.
The sculptures are all interpretations of everyday objects – what fascinates you about them?
In broader terms, in my artwork I use themes such as the serial, repetition and estrangement of what is familiar. In this sense I have a particular interest in the everyday, specifically in the material objects that give shape to it. What fascinates me about everyday objects are the traces of humanity that are lodged in them and which it is possible to bring to the fore in art. These traces embrace both their processes of making or construction and the daily use-relationship we establish with them.
In this particular show, the figure of something broken is what hinges that relationship: when something breaks it goes out of use, it can be discarded, but it might enter a new phase of signification if its owner has a strong attachment to it. It’s that moment of decision or indecision that interests me and that I try to recreate by building the object as an ambiguous figure. Within this, it is important that I have worked with mass-produced, non-noble objects, whereby things that were not important in the first place achieve a value or significance by the attachments that people form with them.
How do you go about making each piece? Do you use existing objects or start from scratch?
I do both. For some pieces I build them from scratch, and others I start from alerting already existing objects. For example, the piece that it is formed by a series of broken cups, bowls and the like is a combination of both methods: the broken objects that we can recognise, are actual objects that you can get from the market, and the, so to speak, formless part of the object which is attached to it I have made from scratch. For the applied decoration I have used a number of techniques, running from silkscreen, transfer-printings, and commercially available patterns that I re-work digitally. For some objects I have repeated the existing pattern, and for others I have decorated both parts from scratch.
House of Propellors
5 Back Hill
London EC1R 5EN
Show runs until 7 November
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 11am – 4pm or by appointment