Artists using Found Objects
Marcel Duchamp first coined the phrase ‘ready made’ in 1915 to describe work displayed as art but that had previously been a commercially available common object. In his work ‘fountain’ Duchamp displayed a urinal unchanged displaying it on a pedestal on its side. These items became artwork because the artist said they were.
Most found object art however uses the found object as an element of the work. For example Chris Ofili who paints large canvases that challenge racial and sexual stereotypes. His work almost always incorporates elephant dung, sometimes within the piece itself but also as large varnish foot supports for the canvas.
Many artists have used found objects within their art, for example Damian Hurst’s ‘Black Sun 2004’. A large canvas with a huge circular black disc completely made out of dead flies. This work references the anonymity of death and how at a distance humans life and death all look the same. Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’ she recreated her bed, as embarrassing as it seems to us, it attempted to explain her insecurities and emotional instability showing us that she isn’t different from most other people. In Marc Quinn’s ‘Self’ he used 9 pints of his own blood to cast a replica of his head, he has continued to produce these as a documentation of the his ageing.
An artist who works entirely with found materials is Andy Goldsworthy. He creates beautiful in-situ installations using objects found nearby, from stones, leaves sticks etc.
- Reclaimed wood made into furniture
- Reclaimed wood art Duncan Johnson
- Levi’s repurposed tools
- astronaut makes dinosaur for her son from items found in the space station
- homage to Calder, kinetic sculpture made from food