This series of space interventions was inspired by Duchamp’s readymade and British-German artist Tino Sehgal’s constructed situation. Uniformed museum guards danced around the room singing, “Oh, this is so contemporary, contemporary, contemporary.” I was struck by the humour of this work and its connection with the 1960s Happenings or Fluxus movement, and the Relational Aesthetics work of the 1990s.
Similar to Sehgal, I want to eliminate the object from my work and explore how language and semiotics can create a connection between people and space.
I place the statement “THIS IS CONTEMPORARY” within banal scenes and locations such as a fire exit stairway, a bin, a tree, a bench and a path. The statement acts like an anti-truism. Truism stands for a certain kind of truth—a cliché, a platitude, something so self-evident that it is hardly worth mentioning.
These objects are often overlooked, let alone appreciated as anything of significance or artistic value. The bold and formal chalk marking draws the attention of the pass-bys and makes them curious. They might ask “why is this contemporary” or snap a photo and share it on their social media. Subsequently, their reactions or indifference become part of this relational work. The work is personal and ephemeral to anyone who happens to encounter it.