The idea of the matchboxes was inspired by Ben Vautier’s 1965 Total Art Matchbox. He made a matchbox with a label that explained that they should be used to destroy all art and that the last match should be kept for the box itself. My matchboxes are empty, but I mount them on flaming plinths to imply that the last match has been employed. I also make the flaming mounts from sandpaper so that they will actually destroy the work if it touches it.
At my last show another artist produced some shortbread matchboxes derived from my box with the price tag / razor blade label and we displayed it on the wall along with the rest of my work. Where my work implies it has an ephemeral nature, in order to appreciate her work you actually have to eat it and our guests did exactly that on the opening night.
I’m not making matchboxes simply to celebrate phillumeny, ephemera or popular culture – it’s not pop art per se, I’m mostly interested in its inherent power as a form of cultural currency. I’m using matchboxes to draw attention to particular ideas, problems and symbolism that I think are worthy of discussion, like the fact that people were torching police cars and not just looting shops during the London Riots.
It’s also my intention to challenge the nature of art and reality even, to the extent that we take it for granted that these are somehow both matchboxes and art at the same time. And in exactly the same way, each and every label also represents it’s own particular paradox or enigma, by representing two different images at the same time, as there’s both an image to look at and another to see.