Ester Partegàs’ fourth solo exhibition at Foxy Production comprises two new series of sculptures inspired by objects so ubiquitous they are virtually invisible. The artist is interested in the tales these overlooked items – tarpaulins, buckets, containers, and labels – tell us about the ephemeral nature of things. She rescues them from being so mundane and unremarkable that they are almost non-objects, what writer Georges Perec calls “the infra-ordinary,” inviting us to look beyond the illusion of the everyday. She translates the unloved and the passed-by into subjects of contemplation by plucking them out of their quotidian obscurity and placing them in the gallery space, and through the material changes she has them undergo.
The Passerby is a series of cast polyurethane sculptures based on the familiar synthetic tarpaulins that are used to shelter and protect goods and people. Partegàs transforms these resistant materials into translucent and ethereal objects of beauty. Made by placing resin directly onto tarpaulins and adding a little pigment, they show their sources’ creases and wear. Hung in rows in the front gallery, they form an environment reminiscent of a closed market street that has been transfigured into a space of fractured light and subtle color.
In the backspace, labels are scattered around buckets, and bins. The realism of the scene diminishes on closer inspection: the containers – cast in pigmented resin – appear handmade, while the labels – silk-screens of found airline tags, and postage and courier stickers – are over-sized. A container’s role is to support other materials; yet, here they are given center-stage; no longer secondary objects, they are now crafted, unique subjects of our attention. Inside the containers and spilling out over the floor of the space, the labels act as traces of the journeys of people and goods, accounts of people and objects uniting and separating.
Installation photography: Mark Woods.