The concept of individual worth as represented by personal possessions is not new. Over the last century, consumerism has experienced a series of mutations following the Industrial Revolution and the Second World War, spawning our current consumer culture. With an increasing appetite for material ‘things’, the invention and manufacture of goods has exponentially grown with global implications. This is the underlying theme of Ian Johnston: Reinventing Consumption.
Johnston’s work addresses three issues: the invention of material objects due to increasing demand, the manufacturing process, and the accumulation of material goods. Several international artistic residencies sparked Johnston’s observation of the similarities, rather than the differences, of consumer behaviour across cultures. Everyday household items are brought to life in Antechamber which includes hundreds of ceramic elements using a vacuum forming technique perfected by Johnston over a number of years. Johnston’s sculptural pieces translate as architectural structures. The Chamber references the artistic process in the form of an inflating nylon bag concealing, and yet revealing found objects underneath. Finally, The Inventor’s Roomis a curatorial display of the tools involved in the creative process.
A thought-provoking commentary on a consumer-driven society, Reinventing Consumption reflects the nature and evolution of our relationship to the material world.