Empty Basket

 

Installation at Airspace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent , 17 - 30 August 2020

"EMPTY BASKET is a project that exists in the margins between art and shopping. Fast-fashion products are ordered online, then transformed into sculptures that exist for a duration that reflects the retailer's return policy. These ‘Shopping Sculptures’ form grand symmetrical arrangements, often zipped or buttoned together. At the end of the return period, they are disassembled and sent back to the retailer. This mischievous strategy questions both the pursuit of online-shopping and the economics of being an artist.

Exhibited in this show is Foldaway Vinyl Mac Sculpture. The work was made by assembling several plastic waterproof coats ordered from fast-fashion online retailer Boohoo. The coats retail at £3.50 each and they are one size fits all. Foldaway Vinyl Mac Sculpture will exist for a maximum duration of 48 days, as this is the length of Boohoo’s return policy.

 As a sculpture, the clothing embodies a mysterious anthropomorphic form; unoccupied by human bodies, the vacant coats are offered as one monstrous figure, animated like a puppet.

Subverted, these products now occupy a space in a one-time shop window, bringing the online shopping experience back to the high-street.

 

As well as their physical manifestation, these sculptures are also available to view online at emptybasket.org. Through the medium of an online shop, Empty Basket is configured to market these ephemeral sculptures online as banal product images, resulting in either an actual purchase or disassemblement and return to the original fast-fashion retailer. This action renders the sculpture unobtainable alongside other past-returned sculptures, communicated to the viewer through an ‘out of stock’ image.

 

By taking the artwork away from a gallery setting and into this consumer context, the work plays on the absurdities of the commercial gallery." - Airspace Gallery

 © Sophie Cunningham 2020