Monday 20 February 2023

IDS (Iain Duncan Smith) in Red


In 2016, I was invited to show in a studio and project space in South East, UK. I had prepared to show a sculpture of Ian Duncan Smith’s inverted head painted in emergency exit red. The head itself, was attached to a scaffold pole to evoke the custom/symbolic value of placing a head on a spike.

I planned to install the piece on the roof of the space. During the show, it became quite clear that the original artist fee ‘dematerialised’ amongst young curatorial big-wigs. As a form of vengeance, I installed the head in the toilet for the duration of the show. This irritated the young big-wigs considerably, as part of the exchange was for these 3 big-wigs to sit and invigilate the show as labour exchange. It was the only staff toilet on the premises, with the others locked away for studio holders which was operated by pin access, therefore inaccessible to the curatorial team. The closest public toilet was 500ft away in the town centre in a Costa Coffee chain, which required them to purchase something of nominal value to constitute a customer and hence use the available toilet.