Friday, 22 May 2009

Worthless: more than you bargained for

What makes a Damien Hirst sell for £9.2 million while a Monet doesn’t even make its reserve? Creative collective Pollocks invite you to ponder this for yourselves during their live art installation Worthless: a recession-inspired experiment that explores the value of material objects.

“It's simple - bring in your worthless item, have it transformed into a work of art and pay how much you think it is worth,” goes the tag line; a clever, straightforward concept that will unfold over the next week from their base in London’s Seven Dials.

Pollocks’ creative director (and artist in his own right) Josef Valentino describes how the idea came to him as High Street institution Woolies met its maker.

“I really love playing around with words and I thought it was funny how you could get the word worthless out of Woolworths’ name,” he reveals. “There was a pun, and the pun grew into the concept.”

Sponsored by London Graphic Centre, Worthless will see art manifested in all shapes and forms. “We’ve got artists bringing flocking machines and jewellery designers bringing down soldering irons,” Josef explains. “Anything goes, it’ll be a complete mishmash: from fashion through to sculpture, from portraiture through to film and music. You could bring in a T-shirt and someone could write a song about it.”

The team have already garnered public support, ahead of the event’s launch. “Because we’re in such a great location, we’ve had people coming in all throughout the preparation saying ‘we’ve been watching you progress and have gone down to the basement and pulled something up that will be perfect…’ It’s exciting to see people inspired by the concept.”

It will be interesting to see what challenges people throw at the arsenal of artists, on hand to render the most mundane of objects into something worth cherishing. Josef mentions Mingei in his references, the Japanese art theory that looks at finding beauty in imperfection. “There is a beauty in something that isn’t financially valuable, or that has got a different type of value that isn’t so 21st century,” he says.

“It’s nice to see people engaging with art and not being intimidated by it - a lot of people I know don’t go to art galleries but they’ll go to this event.”

Worthless will run from 22-29th May at west central’s Endell Street. A pick’n’mix of ‘worthless to priceless’ creations will be exhibited in the store from 1st – 5th June, with several items being auctioned at Whisky Mist Club on behalf of the MS Society on Thursday 4th June. Click here for more information.

By Imogen Eveson

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