In Belly of Paris, Emile Zola described the artist Claude Lantier (the hero of his novel, The Masterpiece) rearranging the meat products in the window of his cousin’s butchers shop. He did this according to an aesthetic sensibility rather than a taxonomy of meat. Chops, confit and charcuterie were instinctively organised into a display that the painter Lantier described as his only true great work. Sales in the shop fell, Lantier was chastised by his cousin and he was never asked to look after the business again. The focus of artistic practice had, in fiction at least, shifted from a rendering of objects in a still life to an arrangement of them.
Unspecific Objects questions the relationships between the art object and everyday objects. Without a focus on a particular medium or singular approach, the exhibition uses works by over twenty contemporary artists that contemplate the object in order to consider art’s enduring power to transform. Objects are manipulated, composed, constructed, remodelled, remade, rendered as image, placed, stacked, sculpted, painted or simply offered to the viewer. Some of the works are installed across the two sites of the exhibition; others present themselves as discreet objects. The cumulative effect of the works is a sustained focus on our relationship to things that surround us.