“What speaks to us, seemingly, is always the big event, the untoward, the extra-ordinary: as if what speaks, what is significant is always abnormal…The daily newspapers talk of everything except the daily. What’s really going on, what we’re experiencing, the rest, all the rest, where is it? How should we take account of, question, describe what happens every day and recurs everyday: the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, the background noise, the habitual?
To question the habitual. But that’s just it, we’re habituated to it. We don’t question it, it doesn’t question us… This is no longer even conditioning, it’s anaesthesia. We sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep. But where is our life? Where is our body? Where is our space?
How are we to speak of these ‘common things’, how to give them meaning, a tongue, to let them, finally, speak of what is, of what we are.”
– Georges Perec, ‘The Infra-Ordinary’, 1973
David Thomson’s Models sculptures and their corresponding photographs demonstrate a thoughtful and witty reincarnation of quotidian objects. The resulting forms are heroes of everyday detritus; testaments to Georges Perec’s notions of the ‘infra-ordinary’ – whereby that which is everyday, which is so often overlooked, is appreciated, examined and documented. Thomson’s work draws on Dada notions of the potential of the found object; mundane objects are elevated to monuments. These ‘things’ retain their original identities of a bottle, an eggcup, a balloon, a sponge or a tray, but their placement and enlacement with other objects creates a new, sculptural form. These animated ‘suburban’ sculptures often lean towards the anthropomorphic, evoking a sense of the uncanny. We are caught in the paradoxical experience of being attracted to these familiar items, and at the same time disorientated by their recontextualisation.
David Thomson is a Perth based artist and is the recent winner of both the Qantas Foundation Encouragement of Australian Contemporary Art Award and the Artflight Grant from the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts. Thomson recently undertook a studio residency at at PICA, WA. His work has been included in several key solo and group exhibitions including The Fremantle Print Award an the forthcoming LOVE OF DIAGRAMS at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art.