That Obscure Object of Desire, 2012


That Obscure Object of Desire is a new work using textured glass based around ideas of voyeurism, desire, and museum/gallery culture. It is an ultimately frustrating artwork that forces the viewer to assess their own conceptions of value, desire, and commodity. The type of glass used alludes to privacy and domestic intimacy, and evokes personal responses through memory and association.
This work seems to be most successful in its aim to frustrate the viewer. The eventuality of knowing what is inside the box is ultimately disappointing. The frustration at not knowing what is inside, and having to either project ones own vision, or to try and get inside the head of the artist to find the answer is far more interesting. People seem to spend  lot more time looking at something if they are not allowed to see it in full. By forcing the viewer to build the detail of the object in their own mind, they are encouraged to study the object more closely. Whether this effect would be the same with an image as opposed to an object would be interesting.
There is also an interesting element of viewer participation that could be manipulated. Viewers noticeably crouched and stooped into physically awkward positions to gain a better perspective on the object inside the box. There is something quite satisfying in viewing a viewer in that sense.
The title is intentionally leading, as the use of the word ‘desire’ changes how the viewer might read the work. This could lead in the direction of multiple works of a similar nature with different titles – to see how the use of language can drive the reading of the work.
I would like to explore the domestic connotations more, and perhaps the ideas of privacy and voyeurism, which I feel are more closely linked to textured glass in its most common uses. Like Marcus Harvey’s trompe-loeil painting Jess on the toiet.
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