Bold Tendencies - Sculpture project 6
Martin Westwood uses the impedimenta of post-industrial society to articulate the implicit biographies and identities of commodities. Banal objects of mass design, apparently raided from the stock rooms, stationery cupboards and supermarket aisles of the late twentieth century, are removed from their quotidian contexts, stripped of economic function and rerouted as allegorical objects. The humour of Westwood’s oeuvre is a version of that in Franz Kafka’s Poseidon, which describes a deity irritated by the popular misconception that he spends his time stirring up earthquakes and scuppering ships. In fact, the short story tells us, ruling the oceans entails so much bureaucracy that this god remains tied dutifully to his desk, overwhelmed by paperwork, waiting for the end of the world. Like the best jokes, Westwood’s work acknowledges its implication in the systems it critiques, drawing attention to the absurdities inherent to contemporary society.