the process is the artwork

Plastic Waste Polychrome

Ellen Ringstad. Detail of Plastic Waste Polychrome (2011), still in the making, consisting of layer upon layer of the artist's own plastic waste.

Have you been following my blog? If so, you may have noticed how concerned I am with waste. This concern is best exemplified through my ongoing dialogue and occasional quarrels with Waste Line, who is, much to her misfortune, literally a line of waste. Contrary to popular belief, Waste Line has numerable questions about her origins and wherabouts in life, which is more than can be said about certain humans individuals. 

You might be surprised to read that my intentions with waste are not entirely based on environmental idealism. This waste frenzy was likely triggered by a not-so-admirable intention: capital; or rather lack thereof. In order to make art, a poor student like myself desperately needs materials, preferably without paying  much for them. Come to think of it, it must have started earlier because I remember how my Grandmother, who lived and survived the two great wars on this continent, saved all sorts of materials and then turned them into new, smart things. Perhaps it is her fault that I’ve been collecting all kind of useless stuff, “just in case”. It seems both my grandmother and I have a lot in common with squirrels.

At least my grandmother made useful stuff, while I make art. However, I believe there is an important message in this kind of artistic expression. Found materials automatically say something about the society in which we live. As reflected citizens, one must inevitably raise the inconvenient questions about the way we live. How will our patterns of consumption affect the future? My grandmother, like so many others of her generation, learned the hard way. I’m trying to learn from her so I’ll be prepared for tougher times. 

The photograph above is a detail of my new painting in the making, entitled Plastic Waste Polychrome, which will be approximately 300x200cm. It will be made entirely of my own melted plastic waste reminiscent of Waste Lines gone by, reminding me of just much how much I consume. It also references the works of Robert Rauschenberg.

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