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The Comedy of Errors

Art Works: The Shopping List Project by Rosie MacLennan

3 July 12 words: Rosie MacLennan

"There is something so precious about this casually discarded piece of life detailing so much about a household’s existence, it’s an incredible celebration of the routines of life"

For a long time I have been fascinated by lost and found things, but mainly shopping lists, it’s all about the unknown story. It feels like the other person is passing a part of themselves, sort of like a part of their soul or DNA. There is something so precious about this casually discarded piece of life detailing so much about a household’s existence, it’s an incredible celebration of the routines of life. The lists aren’t made for others’ eyes; there is no contrived message.

The project is a series of artworks with the physical lists themselves being the main pieces that feature on an online exhibition space. Amongst the other works there is an audio piece of the shopping lists, which I was fortunate enough to have Johnny Crump act as sound engineer and the lists read by LeftLion’s very own Al Needham. There is also a series of photographs of mittens with shopping lists knitted into them called “lost-found-treasured-dismissed.” The online exhibition began over a year ago but the mittens were installed and photographed in April as I’m reliant on them being knitted for me.

I make my work at home; I have a fairly large kitchen which has one end dedicated as studio space. I like to think of it as my life’s work, although how shopping lists will be made in fifty years time I don’t know. Hopefully there will still be paper lists.

I began by collecting lists discarded in trolleys and on the ground, and I then had the mittens knitted for me based on actual found shopping lists. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to collect a list. I can still end up walking around suspiciously until the time feels right to retrieve a list. My daughter hates it, she gets incredibly embarrassed, although she’ll occasionally retrieve one to please me!

I’m launching a project in September called 52 artists 4 Bulwell, I’m looking for fifty-one artists who will produce a playing card sized piece of work, these will be photographed and published in a book and an online gallery space. The artworks will then be placed around Bulwell for people to find, and I am hoping to be able to produce packs of cards with the artworks printed on the back to be distributed to local community groups. Nottingham Contemporary have kindly agreed to be a collection point for the cards, it’s going to be very exciting. Anybody interested in joining in can get more information and sign up at nottart.com.

The Shopping List Project blog

 

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