Liz Magor – Downer, DECEMBER 5, 2020–JANUARY 30, 2021

Liz Magor
December 5, 2020–January 30, 2021

Catriona Jeffries

How do we care or not care for the things that surround us in our lives? What hopes are contained in the production and acquisition of stuff, and what sentiments are elicited in its use and circulation? In Downer, Liz Magor continues to expand how sculpture re-enacts the relationship between inanimate material and human emotion. In her own words, the work “considers the covert operation of the most familiar forms and materials in our environment with regard to their relationship to our emotions and subjectivity.”

Liz Magor is an artist whose practice has centred primarily on sculpture for over four decades. Using traditional mould-making techniques, Magor has often replicated everyday objects either as discrete, uncanny forms, or spliced together with seemingly unrelated quotidian objects of our environment. Consistent throughout her practice is an experimentation with traditional sculptural elements such as mass, volume, and weight; all mixed with a sardonic humor.

In Downer, the unavoidable force of gravity is ever-present. Things have literally fallen or are caught in the moment of falling. The structures supporting the figures—holding up our own projected narratives as well—are hyper-articulated and sample vernacular methods of retail display. The visual details seem haphazard at first, but reveal themselves to be highly intentional compositions. Mis-matched stained fabric trim, a splash of coffee, dirty tape residue and paint scuffs are determinedly constructed and present themselves as traces of past action.

Amongst all these details, the works point to how desire for an object is created and materially articulated, often subconsciously, sometimes half-heartedly, possibly failing in its attempts. In the most unassuming items and elements, Magor’s approach draws out the non-utilitarian functions of objects and our human attachments to them, such as needs for comfort and affirmation, and in doing so highlights their relation to the inevitable loss of others and our selves.

Documentation by Rachel Topham Photography