Liz Magor, talking about the work Leather (4 cigs)
Polymerized gypsum, cigarettes
17 × 43 × 61 cm
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund
With this work Leather (4 cigs) obviously I’ve made a mould of a leather jacket and cast it in a hard material. This material is a kind of plasticized gypsum. Gypsum is a naturally occurring material. And I use a product where there is a latex binder to the gypsum, so I call it polymerized gypsum because it’s a sort of a plastic natural material. It’s a bit like concrete, with a plastic medium instead of water. I pour that gypsum into the mould and it takes perfectly the impression of the original object. It’s a long laborious process. And in the process I work really hard to get shadows and dark spaces. So this space here right where the collar goes, and all in here, around the collar all the dark spaces in the folds and the deep crevices. Those are areas that normal commercial mould making and casting, they don’t want that. They want a quick removal from the mould. This is not a quick removal. Because it’s like the inside of your ear; it’s like a deep convoluted channel.
I want those because it’s almost the parts that you don’t see that make you believe the parts that you do see. It makes this look much more real.
And I’ve also made the jacket in a posture. Almost like a physical or figurative posture of… I was actually thinking of suffering when… I’ve been told the jacket… So all the jackets are doubled over… you have a stomach ache, or something is hurting inside your body, and that sense you do with your body, of closing it up to try to protect it. So the jackets are kind of in postures and they are having relationships with objects.
So the jacket is a sculpture. It’s not a jacket anymore. I’m calling it a jacket but I shouldn’t be doing that, I should be calling it a sculpture. But this is a cigarette. So all the sculptures have relationships with real things. And those relationships are so they feel each other or they are aware of each other present. I know they are not sentient though, so I am projecting that relationship.