Crush (2019) is an ongoing project exploring traces and textures on a collection of discarded cans.
The first image from the series, No Sugar Trio, is a still life photograph of hand-crushed cans that aim to explore the aesthetic and symbolic qualities of crumpled metallic surface.
As a reference to the nature of its raw material, a ubiquitous commercial commodity, the image purposely combines the pictorial traditions of product advertising and pop art, echoing works by artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Cildo Meireles, though with different intentions and procedures.
This work aims to lean closer to still life painting, and in particular the history of vanitas and memento mori with its exploration of symbolism to represent the transience and/or futility of life, attempted here by visualising the impact of a forceful touch on a surface which alters it significantly, as well as in the use of a discarded object that has already run the course of its intended life and has entered the realm of junk.
My approach to this project was also inspired by Cigarettes (c.1972), a series by Irving Penn which demonstrated the possibilities of discarded objects as still life within the context of conceptual or fine art photography (as some writers and galleries refer to it). I attempted my own versions of this as part of ongoing experiments, as illustrated in images below.
It echoes ongoing interests in the wider practice, particularly in its effort to capture traces of human presence and action through sculptural marks left on the surface of the cans.