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Paul Carter

Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2008-9

Mark Tanner Sculpture Award Show

Exhibition: 18 September – 24 October 2009

Whatever the thing is, it must not obviously be art. Pulled from a construction site, a bombsite, left to rot where they fall, these raw objects are packed into cubic spaces, vertical spaces, horizontal spaces, to be stored, the anti-archive of rot and residue. Carter does not reclaim his materials, he subjects them to pressure until they break or become.

Carter acts upon scale - compression and expansion, construction and demolition. The scale of a room, the scale of the body, the scale of a box. The inhabited space is the room we are ascribed (Rm.15) and the flesh of our body. The box is a possession, and a building block, and a head sized cube, made of detritus, mangled and glued in an exact and disrespectful mince:

"Salt and concrete, metal, meat, wood."

"Mechanical toy, vegetables, resin, paper, wood, metal, dust, jack."

"Concrete, grease, wood, asphalt, metal."

"Grease, paper, concrete, plastic, wood, meat, metal, resin."

"Glass, wood, sawdust, bread, resin, concrete, paint, plastic, paper, grease, stone."

These changes in scale are like breathing, the sculptures expand and contract like a pair of lungs, the inhale/exhale of a cushion as it is sat on and left. You are inside, you are outside, you inhabit the construction and then you pick it up and carry it off.

Some of the objects– the beds/sofas – offer a moment of rest and comfort to the viewer. Made of old sash windows pulled out of buildings - lacerated, folded, covered in dirty mismatched cushions, they have a scale reminiscent of grand hotel but the cleanliness of the hostel. We sit: there is a delay, we wait, interminably. The room signage (framed gloss paintings. Rm.9) are windows onto private spaces that remain inaccessible. We are in a waiting room, a holding bay.

"The objects lying around are waiting to be consumed, devoured and transformed. Their current status is a by-product of their previous consumption, they are dirty, smelly regurgitations. Rm.14. Other objects can be stroked and caressed. Rm.33"
- Carter 2009

Carter's object relationships are constantly fluctuating between intimate (close connection, touch, careful gaze) and distant (recalling and assessing). Never allowing his experience to settle into intimacy or rest at a distance, he destabilises the value of the thing. This creates a continual shifting from one thing to another, the disregarding of something for another. The casual violence of restlessness.

A source for this pervasive atmosphere might be discovered in a new video piece, which Carter explains is the culmination of several years of recurrent contemplation of a 'stolen' scene, which, being viewed and never resolved, has haunted his practice. The piece reveals a distant view on an act of inexplicable aggression, whose on-screen viewer remains as passive as we ourselves do. There is always a little violence in choice and change of mind, in necessary movement forward or back or anywhere… anywhere for the next thing.

Rm.14 represents a year of new work supported by the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, which Paul Carter won in September 2008

Paul Carter's ongoing 'Hotel' installation will be at Matts Gallery 9 Sep -1 Nov 2009

Paul Carter lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Soot from the Funnel, Lokaal, Breda and Parallax, Fieldgate 2008, Citadel 1, David Risley Gallery and Videoisme, Mains D'oevres, Paris 2007.

All images are details of work for Rm.14. Copyright remains with the artist.