Liz Magor, talking about the work Good Shepherd
Polymerized gypsum, wool, plastic bags, sheet
133.5 × 261.5 × 30.5 cm
Collection of the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich
In this other work called the Good Shepherd, it looks almost as though a sweater has dropped out of Being This. And it’s probably true. In the process of gathering together all the clothing for Being This I had lots of things that were different, that didn’t work there. And some of them included garments that had been repaired lots and lots of times. And this one in the Good Shepherd, there’s a patch here that’s been repaired in kind of an… unsuccessful way I guess. And then there’s a big hole that’s not been dealt with at all. And then there’s also this pattern of this sweater that I identify as a Scandinavian something. Maybe it’s a Scandinavian tradition. I see it, but I can’t quite name it. I just somehow know that it’s Scandinavian. So I like those processes of somebody working with this sweater, trying to keep it but not recognizing that the pattern is the reason the sweater is important. All this complication. So the sweater stays alive for me. The blanket stays alive because it’s a Hudson’s Bay blanket. It’s not a super valuable, it also has some repairs over here on the edge. It’s been beaten up quite a bit. I don’t think it’s a collector item. Can’t quite remember where I got this but I don’t go on eBay. I don’t search for the rare and valuable. I’m a treasure hunter of trash really, so…
The sweater and the blanket and this picture of this collie dog who’s doing some sort of protective business around this little lamb: they’re all arrayed and displayed on what look like cardboard boxes leaning against the wall. It doesn’t take long for you to notice that the cardboard is gone or stuck or remains. And that’s simply because I used the boxes as a mould. With the more complicated casts like the leather jacket, I have to use a rubber mould because its flexibility allows me to do all these undercuts. So using a cardboard box as a mould is really rough and dirty. It’s really quick and not very complicated. I just pour the material into the cardboard box and pop the box off. I put the pigment in first to get the colour. These are like boxes. Again boxes are something that are so disposable. They are like servants and they deliver these more important things to the stores and then we buy the more important things and throw the boxes out. So I’m valorizing the discarded. It’s valorizing the discarded. The dog is valorizing the discarded. And there is this deep process of shepherding, of protecting, that is what an artist does in a way. What I do in a very focused way. And then I see it throughout the culture; there are many images of that shepherding and protecting that appear in many different ways.