‘The history of things can be understood as their circulation in the world. The question of things, even the question of whether they are, is inseparable from a question about what they do, or what can be done with them.’
– Bill Brown
Auckland based sculptor Ruth Watson is known for her alternative mappings of the world, flipping our reading of the globe to disrupt the dominant understanding of location. Her choice of subject matter investigates the ubiquity of the notion of ‘mapping’, and its use as a commanding motif of globalisation.
In her major new exhibition Entangled Worlds, Watson turns her attention to the physical materiality of the globe and what remains, once place names and other markers have been entirely stripped away. A series of every day objects – surfboard, books, garden spade – have been similarly treated, ripped of their individual skins and activities, and encrusted in a unifying white-out. Without specific physical details the objects begin to detach from their original function, becoming abstracted mysterious forms for us to project new possibilities onto.
For Watson, each object represents a ‘world’ that “overlaps tangentially with the other objects, also linked by their surfaces... a kind of quantum entanglement at a large scale”.