The artists Cinthia Marcelle, Rob Pruitt and William Mackrell have a shared interest in how everyday items can be transformed into art. At first glance, many of the exhibits don’t seem unusual; however, materials such as scrunched up balls of paper, pieces of industrially-produced fabric and tea lights take on new meaning. A preoccupation with circles and circularity runs through the exhibition, drawing together the different art forms by these three distinctive artists.
Rob Pruitt’s work encourages the viewer to interact with the exhibit. Pop pop’s Chocolate-Chip Cookies (2008). A giant MDF disc holds real cookies that are baked and replaced throughout the duration of the exhibition by gallery staff. Pruitt encourages the viewer not only to try the biscuits but also to try the recipe in a playful example of mise en abyme, the technique of creating an image that contains a smaller copy of itself.
Continuing the circular theme, William Mackrell’s work 1000 Candles (2010/2012) is a three part piece. A full circle of tea light candles is displayed on the gallery floor, which were lit on opening night to be viewed as a performance object then left as a reminder when the candles burned out, complemented by a photograph and a video of the work in motion on the wall. The young London-born artist is fascinated by how objects such as tea lights can be transformed into artworks by taking them out of their everyday setting to make the viewer see them in a completely different way. Mackrell’s work brings together the commonplace and the extraordinary, and his works are often driven by experiment, the process of making becoming as much a part of his art as the content. 1000 Candles was inspired by a torch belonging to the artist claiming to have the power of 1000 candles.
The work of the third artist in the exhibition, Cinthia Marcelle, also pushes against our idea of the everyday, through small interventions that aim to disrupt our routines (two examples of these are shown in Infinite Jest she then documents these in a variety of mediums such as video, collage and photography. One of the video, Volta ao Mondo (Round the World) (2004) shows the frustration enacted on other drivers in a traffic flow by a group of white vans driving round the circle continuously. Here, again, we see both the circle as a symbol for the never-ending nature of our daily routines and how small changes in these patterns might enable new experiences and connections to occur. Her videos invite us to question the absurdity of mindlessly holding to our daily routines.
Infinite Jest asks us to constantly question the nature of our day-to-day lives. Objects we think we know well are altered only subtly yet change our perception completely. The playful irony at work in the collection makes for an entertaining and thought-provoking show encouraging the viewer to take a moment out of their own daily life to see something in an everyday object that they had never seen before.