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Gold Buttons (and supporting work)

Unfired clay covered in gold leaf. Presented on white cotton shirt. 


My project has changed and evolved from the beginning looking at appropriation, then moving onto identity then leaning towards Queer art. The influence of gold has played a huge role in most of my classes this semester and this is certainly no exception. As well as using skills learnt in other classes and combining them with my different papers. My final work plays with ideas of sexuality and the topic of sexual identity. Presented is a clean crisp white shirt with two gold nipples located in the appropriate area. The nipples are made from clay that is unfired causing it to be very delicate. Its then covered in gold leaf. 


Getting to this final outcome I made lots of body parts from clay and plaster, covering each in gold to see how they would be view differently. I used hands and fingers and the face to begin with. Then was challenged to push and pull my work to see where it could go. I thought of all the different ways where I could go and rested on using nipples. Nipples are not as provocative as other body parts but still problematic in some way. Nipples can be seen as erotic or fetishistic, and placed on a shirt can implicate touch and tactility. A previous work where nipples were buttons and cufflinks really played with touch and how fiddling with these ‘buttons’ had to happen to be used.

The use of gold was to refer to my earlier work in showing how something or someone can be showed as valuable, even though it’s just the outside that is, the inside is still normal. Playing with how people are perceived by others. Adding value to something that is already valuable but can be dressed up depending on who you are or what you are. The unfired clay represents the human body being fragile and easily broken. A raw material that can be shaped and harden if left in a particular shape. Much like an individual that is shaped by those around them.


To present them on a dress shirt was a personal move as a clean smart shirt is a representation of myself. It also offers a perception of power, professionalism, wealth and a smart\ proper facade. Then when faced with the golden nipples it twists the view and provokes questions. 

Wobble Gold

Gold bars made from Gelatine presented on a vibrating table.


My project has changed and evolved from the beginning looking back from my initial ideas of artificial. My work still sits in artificial but have come a long way from where I started.  The idea behind this work is playing with materials and what they can represent or be perceived. As well as trying out different methods of installation. Forwarding my use of gold as a theme of material and visual appearance, as well as pushing it to twist what it is already known and viewed as. This piece is reversing the aesthetic from my previous work, making fragile, soft or biodegradable objects hard and solid, like previous gold bananas or eggs. Switching the idea and making hard/ lasting objects biodegradable, decay and temporary. Playing with the lasting ‘value’/ sustainability of a material like gold. Gold is viewed as lasting, a durable material that stands the age of time. Been around since the beginning and been used in all mana of ways by humanity. But once it is changed and distorted into a material that is the opposite it allows doubt and shifts the idea of the object by the flick of a switch. Creating a whole new perception of what is in front of you.  In this work Iuse gelatine to present my ideas and message. Forwarding the use of gold to represent it in a way that changes the perception of the material and the ideas of what it represents. Using an edible material to create this work links and forwards my work as previously using hard materials to make something ‘edible’ now reversing that and playing with those ideas. Moving my work forward with my installation involves the viewer to interact with the work by turning it on and off to make the work come to life. Giving the work life compared to previous work. The vibrating table was designed to bridge the gap between the viewer and the work, relying on the viewer to make the work come to life. Giving the still organic material life. 

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