Smithsonising, again [DIY Smithson]

A couple of years back, I was invited to be involved in a group show which explored themes of masculinity in relation to the hardware store - the temple of modern man, right? The basic premise was that the show would involve humorous works which reflected the relationship beteween men and tools. [The title, Ultimate Tool, insinuated that they could be the same thing]
At the time [?] I was going through a bit of a fascination with Robert Smithson, among a few other tangents of exploration. For my contribution, I decided to construct a curiosity cabinet which portrayed miniature versions of famous earthworks by Smithson. In this way, I hoped my own work could function both as a parody - a literal belittling of the great land artist - and a quiet tribute to the work of an artist whom I greatly admired.




The works I chose to recreate were Asphalt Rundown, in which a truck emptied a load of liquid asphalt down a hillside,
and Partially Buried Woodshed, in which a shed on the grounds of Kent University, in Ohio, was covered with earth until its central beam cracked.


My versions of these works were constructed with paper, soil and scoria [volcanic rock used for potting cacti]. They were presented inside a cupboard which I had found on the side of the road, and converted into a curiosity cabinet of sorts, utilising a system of pulleys and cords with which to open up the top and front.
The whole project left me feeling somehow empty, or insincere. By merely copying these projects in the miniature it seemed that I was not actually engaging with the original work, I was merely aping it. [Although they do say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery...]
The next Smithson tribute, however, will be my own.


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