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Required fields must not be left blank | Caitlin Pijpers

‘Required fields must not be left blank’ is the latest installation from Melbourne-based artist Adam Cruickshank, whose practice explores the infinite possibilities between functionality and form.

Cruickshank has created an installation of collected materials — which acknowledge the flexibility, changing nature and relationships of the traditional application of materials — and has assembled them in interconnecting groups within this space.

His works have evolved through the process of aggregation, whereby an object or item exists as a unique entity by itself, but, when combined, creates a complete whole. The sum is, thus, greater than the individual parts.

Each work in the exhibition can be viewed on its own and appreciated as a unique and distinct item. Once combined with another, however, new connections are constructed. This may be in the way the works communicate with each other and the space, or in the meaning created by the new combination.

Cruickshank also involves the installation space in his work and builds connections between the individual components of his work and the space that they occupy. These associations both visually attract and intellectually engage the viewer by creating multiple meanings, personal histories and levels of significance.

For Cruickshank, personal relationships are formed with every object a person encounters — this relationship may even be indifference. As a result, every viewer has a different relationship to and association with the items, objects and materials in his work based on their past experiences, upbringing, likes and dislikes.

Materials and objects used within Cruickshank’s practice come from a range of places and situations, which he may have no, little, or some type of connection with.  Some of the objects have also been reused from previous installations, which furthers his exploration of possibility and potential. This exploration can then be transferred onto everyday situations and relationships, which are constantly moving, changing and growing.

According to Cruickshank: “… materiality is inherently dynamic even though we usually think of it as static unless we ‘add’ functionality to it.”

Viewers also have the opportunity to apply their personal histories to, or find significance in, the objects in the installation. In the simplest way, they can relate to an object, or a group of the objects by either liking or disliking them; and in doing so, they are choosing one object over another, allowing one to have more meaning or presence in their lives than the other. By demonstrating personal choice and taste preferences, viewers are also inscribing certain objects with greater potential and possibility for their use value and functionality. By placing items that would not “by rule” be functional together or relate to each other, Cruikshank’s artworks become more open to different interpretations.

This leads into Cruickshank’s interest in the relationship between accepted “opposites”. The objects in his installations are generally mass-produced functional objects created with a specific use. Cruickshank’s creative process challenges the accepted use value of an object by enabling them to exist as both a functional object and an aesthetic art piece.

Materials and objects have an intended use or meaning — as consumers, we are directed by companies to use products in specific ways. Cruickshank challenges these intended meanings through his use of “opposites” and creation of new combinations. His work ensures that individual objects and materials retain old meanings and ideas, form new ideas within and between each other and, as a total, create new meanings, associations and relationships.

Adam Cruickshank studied in Brisbane at the Queensland College of Art and is currently living and working in Melbourne. Exhibiting extensively nationally and internationally including Craft Victoria, C3 Contemporary Art Space, SGAR and his work was featured as part of the Vlaknaast initiative 9art in public space in Dordrecht, Holland. He is presently an MFA candidate at Monash University and has been the artist representative board member for platform Contemporary Art Spaces since 2009.

by Caitlin Pijpers

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