"The possibility of a relational art (an art taking as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space), points to a radical upheaval of the aesthetic, cultural and political goals introduced by modern art."
From Nicolas Bourriaud's "Relational Aesthetics" 2002
Recreation of the Artist's Studio as part of the exhibition The Art of Making Sense at Triangle Space, Chelsea College of Art 2018
Work by "body performers" from the 1960’s and 1970’s such as Vito Acconci, Joan Jonas, Bruce McLean, Bruce Nauman, John Baldessari and Bas Jan Ader, and from more contemporary artists such as Mona Hatoum, Harrison and Wood and Martin Creed, have been influential in my use of my body. Minimal use of props places reliance on the particularities of places and site-specific activity rather than objects leaving space for the imagination to roam.
The minimalist approach to materiality and integrity of the Mono-ha and High Red Centre artists, especially Lee Ufan and Jiro Takamatsu, continues to influence my installation work. Equally I leave room for the creative and disruptive element of chance and accident in the manner of Alys, Duchamp, Calle and Baldessari among others.
A sense of process and time passing are all present. The empty box acts as a metaphor for consumption, transience, repetition and change, as well as our own desires, though each accident or drop of a box might let in ambiguity and serendipity.
From displaying found objects; to installations and videos dealing with their re-animation; to live performances exploring our dysfunctional relationship with the natural world and the absurdity of our cultural obsessions with speed, instantaneity and material possessions, my work continues to show the alienation and destructiveness of our over-acquisitive, voracious lifestyles.
Lone performances and spare installations, using largely unmediated, found and used materials, highlight the value and dignity of unseen individual workers within the momentum and logic of vast, insatiable industrial systems. Banal, commonplace but essential objects such as humble cardboard boxes celebrate hidden labour. Chaplin’s film “Modern Times”, Kafka’s book “The Trial” and Bertrand Russell’s essay “In praise of idleness” address these themes. Russell especially analyses the destructiveness and futility of so much unnecessary work.
Robert Verrill Sweeping video. 2018. Duration 1 min 14 secs.
A crucial turning point in the development of my work from installation to primarily performance.