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ArtistJohn Hurrell
Production Date2012
Mediummixed media
DepartmentNew Zealand Art
Accession Date23 Nov 2012
Accession NoC2012/1/36
Credit LineChartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2012

Chartwell Notes

John Hurrell’s suspended sculpture Bobo (2012) is a colourful fetishlike object made out of cable ties and beads, a cone-shaped bird’s nest suspended from the ceiling.

This work demonstrates Hurrell’s belief that most artists are driven to make ‘silk purses out of sows’ ears.’ Transmuting something that is either repugnant or so ubiquitous as to be invisible. Creating a paradox by making it the centre of attention.

Cable ties are normally used to hold communication cables in bundles or to function as ‘plasticuffs’ for the US police and the military. In the case of the latter they are normally linked to restraint – in broader political terms even repression. Hurrell’s sculptures instead take on an abandoned exhilaration, a spontaneity growing from his desire to make objects more physically palpable and improvisatory, to enjoy the sensual properties of their springy colourful nature, and to celebrate individuality.

Works like Bobo developed out of a realisation that cable tie clusters could be a type of 3D drawing that continued the prickly tactile qualities of the artist’s big black map paintings of the late eighties / early nineties. Sculpture as a form of suspended painting or drawing, hovering in space.


Other works by this artist in the Collection