First found in Beer, a limited edition artist's book.

Found and Lost



Found ……….


To enter a space and be unaware of an art that is discrete but whose intervention into everyday life emphasises rather than obscures our field of (peripheral) vision. Now that would be a space worth finding and for the artist to produce such an art would be a challenge. Perhaps music rises to this challenge and holds some clues for us here. Muzak’s prime function for instance is to exist as a mask smothering the inconsistencies of our surroundings, an attempt to erase our everyday lived experience. Ambient music on the other hand seeks to enhance the space of the everyday. Brian Eno talks about ambient music as something that ‘must be as ignorable as it is interesting’. I wonder whether it is possible for art to achieve this. Perhaps in the same vein as Allan Kaprow whose practice and writings over the years focused on the relationship between art and life. A relationship he viewed as seamless with no demarcation zone between the two, a blurring of borders in which two territories become one.





Framed by the institution the space for art is fixed and hierarchical firmly in the control of artist and institution. Contrast that with the potential of the everyday a space that is not fixed and is in a constant state of flux, a space containing the personal, political, social, corporate and natural etc. Creating constituencies whose spaces combine to create a fluidity that enables a constant shifting of hierarchical relationships and whose constituents are the arbiters, individually and collectively, accepting or rejecting, admitting or denying, embracing or ignoring. To enter this domain is to take a risk, to parody what for some is the sum of their existence and for others the sum of a non-existence is foolish. Each to their own so to speak and it is to speak that is the key thing here, the artist may speak but we cannot assume anyone wants to hear.





Ostensibly the creative act is a solitary endeavour. What I wonder happens when the outcome of this endeavour is lost or abandoned amidst our every day existence? Presenting us with an interesting question of who then bears witness to the product of the artist’s endeavours. It seems the artist has not only lost their art but also their audience, who now bear witness in silence. If the creative act is solitary the same could be said of the receptive act, the encounter with the art. If the artist creates something which is then lost and then found, the loss of the artist is now the find of an interlocutor, albeit a silent one. The artist has lost the product of their creative act, an act that becomes imbued in the latent object that has been left languishing within the everyday waiting to be found.




 ©   John Plowman    September 2008