29 Unmade Artworks 1992-2005
Written by Jessica Bowstead MA
At the Sonic Arts Network and University of Manchester event ‘No Petting, No Running, No Bombing’, held in the grand Manchester Victoria Baths, I found an amusing and clever artwork by artist Catherine Shea.
On the wooden bench of one of the small costume changing booth’s, which line the abandoned First Class Males Swimming Pool, sat a pair of inconspicuous headphones attached to a CD Walkman encased in a small white wooden box. On the tiled wall a label stated the work’s title – 29 Unmade Artworks 1992-2005. Sitting on the bench with the headphones on, I was greeted with the clearly recorded voice of the Northern artist. Shea relayed a list of 29 varied and distinctive pieces of possible art works, that, for reasons unknown to the listener, the artist has never physically performed or created.
Through Shea’s precise spoken descriptions of each idea complete with titles, sizes, materials, outfits and locations, she wittingly invites you to take a wonderful trip into her imagination. During this encounter, I found myself contentedly (and paradoxically) involved in a process of ‘making’ – with Shea’s specifications I visualised and ‘made’ each of her ideas. After mentally making 29 new pieces of art in just half an hour I felt rather gratified! I heartily recommend listening to this work so that you too can immerse yourself in Shea’s multifarious world of art ideas and allow yourself, with some skilful prompting, the fun of ‘making’ something that is ‘unmade’.
Jessica Bowstead MA
Creative Director 5athegallery
This artwork is next being shown as part of the West Lancashire Open Exhibition at the Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk from 15 July – 31 August. Shea will also show this work with new artworks as part of the Transvoyeur exhibition during the Independents Biennial Liverpool.