sardine cans constructions




Falling between many arts historical stools, Osborne’s wall bound objects constructed from standardised sardine cans placed in rows a la Warhol break out of modular conformity through the rich diversity of encased members. Toy soldiers, dinky cars, erotica or post war-paraphernalia impart the iconic singularity of the ready-made. The serial compartments become solidified perspex ‘bathtubs’ full of dramatic innuendo and open-ended narrative. The uniformity of assembly line industrial manufacture is constantly undermined by perplexingly varied contents, forming a Pandora's Box of shocks and surprises.

With the sardine can constructions, moreover, Osborne creates a hybrid species of humorous, satirical post-dada objects. They fall again between the sculptural and pictorial as small plastic figures or segments from Airfix model planes, tin soldiers and random toy parts –themselves low forms of sculpture-are presented in separate pictographic compartments within the overall assemblage. There is interplay here between free association and abandonment on the one hand, and a clinical and rational collected order on the other.

The shining metal cans have a clean, pristine newness that emulate Pop sculptor Clive Barker’s replication of `real objects` in chrome-plated cast metal. The multi-faceted nature of these works takes in the Duchampian tradition of the objets trouves and utilises the process popularised by the French Nouveau Realist sculptor Arman of encasing the objects in a solidified but transparent perspex lacquer, a witty paraphrase of the rich preservative oil into which the sardines were originally 'embalmed'. Here Osborne bridges the gap between art and life through simulation and subterfuge.





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