Ben Branagan ‘Monuments’
Artist-designer Ben Branagan’s latest body of work, entitled ‘Monuments’, which was on show at the London gallery Darkroom in February this year, is a playful and intriguing look at the concept of the storing of knowledge.
“Faced with a pile of abandoned books,” he says, “I was interested in creating an alternative archive of the information these now redundant containers once held, returning them to an object making tradition that is prehistoric, pre-literate.” In Monuments, Branagan has effectively turned one of the most obvious vessels for storing and imparting knowledge into another, creating something new at the same time.
Technically, it’s a process of improvisation. First the books (which came mostly from the Library at London College of Communication) are turned into a pulp; then moulded into basic shapes using simple forms – some found, some purchased; then assembled together to make the individual vessels. Branagan might start with sketches of what he thinks the final design will look like, but in reality, the form that emerges is one that is driven by chance, and the process itself – he lets the shapes of the moulds and the way they fit with another lead the way, consequently ending up with forms not necessarily anticipated. The pots are textural and organic; they have soft edges and lumps, symmetry is mostly gestural rather than accurate, and their colours subtle.
Inviting us to ruminate on aesthetics while drawing our attention to ideas, how we learn and the objects that aid us specifically, Monument is a successful body of art in both senses – and we appreciate that very much.
Credits: Ben Branagan