Michael McGarry

"Modern Amusement 2.0" / Edition 02 / $3,900

MICHAEL MCGARRY (b. 1978) is an artist and designer who lives and works in Cape Town. His work is primarily concerned with the ongoing influence of colonialism and Western imperialism on the African continent. MacGarry was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2010 and recent group exhibitions include 'Contested Terrains' at the Level 2 Gallery, Tate Modern, London (2011), and 'ARS II' at Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2011).

artwork

How would you describe what you do?

I make photographs, films, sculptures, products, books, graphic interfaces, corporate identities and product applications – for myself and for clients. The visual art is – All Theory. No Practice. And the commercial work is – Modern Amusement.

What role does craft play in your work?

Craft, read specifically as production value or quality of finish, is hugely important. Whether it's the actors I've used in my films, the marble carvings I have made in China or, more recently, a horse saddle I designed and had made – the craft is everything.

Why collaborate with other craftsmen?

I don't have the time, inclination or need to spend 10,000 hours refining my marble carving skills. Most of the visual art and film work is ideas orientated, but I use the skills and expertise of others to help realise the work.

Why is that important?

High production values give the imaginary or 'unreal' objects and ideas I work with credibility. The more closely they mimic real objects, the more they 'perform the real' and become part of the world I am critiquing. If I create a remote drone field artillery piece from 30 years in the future, for example, the object needs to be as well made as possible in order to be convincing.

How did you approach this project?

The process of skilled craftsman making something that is then mediated through visual art or graphic design is central to my practice. Spider Murphy's principal concern is to create a sweet board to ride. Like all excellent engineers, he has to sublimate form and function into a singular, remarkable whole. My task is to adorn this object in a way that neither overpowers Spider's work nor impedes the object's function.

How did you interpret the 'Delft' theme?

I wanted to use the iconography of the colonial Delft period, when Europe was opening shops all over the world and when they were the most advanced in their seafaring technology – hence the silhouettes of the tall ships. This iconography is coupled with a late 70s, Southern Californian design aesthetic that is a nod to the golden era of surfing.

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Richard Hart

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Frances Goodman

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Jonathan Barnbrook

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Gustav Greffrath

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Asha Zero

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Olivier Schildt

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Anton Kannemeyer

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Givan Lötz

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Roelof Van Wyk

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