I create symbolic gestures by way of insertions, displacements and détournements. The intention of my work is to catalyze situations for uncertainty and doubt, specifically by dislocating the encounter with art. My practice is fundamentally non-commercial.
The concept of the counterfeit figures prominently in my work. I construct false, often hand-made copies which I insert into circulation within economies dependent on a valuable and authentic original. By undermining the contextual distinction between valued and valueless objects, my insertions challenge the underlying purpose of established hierarchies.
During a recent residency in Beijing, China, I worked with counterfeit brand-name items for which China is infamous. Visiting a shopping centre known for selling exclusively imitation brand-name items, I bought a collection of fake designer clothes. Then, over successive trips to various upscale malls throughout Beijing, I inserted each fake into the proper brand-name boutique on a shelf or hanger amongst legitimate items, leaving each faux-designer item to be either incorporated into circulation, purchased and worn or discovered by the sales-staff.
Although the majority of global brand-name manufacturing occurs in China, the finished products are categorized as “imports” and taxed accordingly. The consequent price mark-up makes these products unaffordable to the local Chinese market. The primary market for the knock-off brand-name goods is in fact the local Chinese who, as manufacturers of the brand-name items, have access to the equipment to make cheaper copies and sell these bootleg items locally. In performing my insertion, the marginalized or unofficial is juxtaposed with the exclusive context of the designer brands, disturbing the values that uphold the immaterial differences between the objects.
At first glance, my counterfeit insertions are invisible, passed over because the distinction separating real from false is arbitrary and external to the material or function of the original. However, at the point of verification, when the substitution becomes visible, the very mechanisms of circulation and credibility are momentarily halted. This minor slip can trigger systemic error or failure. My body of work is a process of refining the composition of these triggers.