ArtSlant – Matthew Darbyshire Rackroom

20 Jun

James Thompson: You’ve spoken previously about an ‘exhibition structure’ for your work, how does this relate to this show in Paris? Also what’s your criteria for the selection of the objects, which have previously also had a structure?

Matthew Darbyshire: I often adopt some sort of notion or environment as an armature upon which I can place the elements (ie. A two-bed appartment in Kennington, London; an entrance hall in Stalin’s Palace of Culture, Warsaw; a building site hoarding in Bethnal Green, London etc.) however in this instance I, for the first time, decided to use the galleries physical architecture as a structure within which to present more of an overview. Being my first exhibition in France I felt I should offer some sort of overview or introduction to my practice before launching in to one of my larger scale ‘environments’.

JT: You’ve been categorised as ‘anti-consummerist’, your work offering a critique, yet you’ve also stated that you don’t want to be didactic. Can you say something about critique, how you reconcile these two things, how you find a valid position for comment?

MD: I’m wary of consumerism – particularly the agendas of those who abuse it; sometimes the aspirations of those who are slave to it; always its effects socially; and of course the repercussions environmentally. But who isn’t? I don’t set out to make work that is ‘anti-consumerist’. I make work in response to that which surrounds me — that which most interests me and that which I am drawn to. It’s probably a combination of formal attribute, social and political implication, personal association and whim…all of which roll in to one I guess.

With regards to its critical dimension, of course it has one but it’s probably only as pronounced or seemingly overt as it is due to my own inhibition rather than intention (ie. like many I long for the poetic and the ineffable but get snared on the cerebral and literal). The work, or the process through which it is made, eventually offers up a critique but I don’t deliberately focus on this aspect from the outset. Most upsetting of all is when the work’s interpreted solely on its perceived social claims…I hope it’s more oblique than that.

Sorry to ramble on but I think the critique surfaces through the combining of various personal traits and for me these seem to be the social, the poetic, the satirical and the formal. This was highlighted in my recent Tramway show that dedicated an antechamber to each and I’m since consciously trying to incorporate and reconcile these four traits in every work.

ArtSlant – Matthew Darbyshire Rackroom.

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