pink and blue soap 'tablet' in cellophane with instructions for use
packet: 16 x 34cm, tablet: 18 x 6.5cm diameter
Press Release for HADRIAN PIGOTT: HYPERGIENICS, 14 October to 13 November 1998 at the Victoria Miro Gallery
Hypergienics, Hadrian Pigottâ€™s first major London show since Young British Artists V at the Saatchi Gallery is a culmination of his investigation of the fetishism of domestic manias and the associated lunacy of consumer choice, the social implications of consumption, waste, fashion and taste.
A set of beautiful, matching, flesh-coloured musical instrument type cases on the floor of the gallery
represent the ultimate in pure desire, the obsessional neuroticâ€™s dream. Totally devoid of function, these metamorphic fantasy objects bear the stylised outline of the humble domestic appliances they might contain (a sink, a vacuum cleaner, an iron, a floor polisher). In these sculptures, Pigott has created
products of and for the end of the twentieth Century - over sexed, glossy, utopic. Like mid 90â€™s Japanese
versions of 1950â€™s American design, these objects exude consumer confidence in their dysfunctional
Negotiated from a distance as pictorial pattern, New York - London - Paris reveals itself on closer
inspection as one hundred and forty different types of toilet paper selected from the three consumer
capitals. The work is both a celebration and critique of personal choice and the quest for individuality, and a revelation in terms of national differences. Quilted scented embossed white is the preferred choice in Manhattan, standard white and five pastels for the most part in London, a preponderance of pinks, floral prints and crazy purples in Paris....
Soap and Water: Hadrian Pigott profile, by David Barrett for Art Monthly, Issue 183
There is a six-foot tall block of plaster embedded with four bathroom sinks. We recognize them only after some investigation since they are revealed merely as cross-sections - some obscure and others, where the form is clearly discernible, ideal. This domestic fossil implies a scientific manner of study. More specifically, cross-sectioning falls into the domain of Geology and, not surprisingly, it was in this area that Pigott received a degree in 1983.
His interest in the layering of surface strata developed from science to craft when he became fascinated with ceramic glaze technology. After intensive academic and practical studies Pigott was accepted into the Royal College of Art within the Ceramics Department. For the third and final year he transferred himself into the Sculpture Department where End of Artesian, 1993, became his first work. This piece is a watershed because it marks a shift from the academic to the expressive, as hinted at by the wordplay of the title (End of Artisan?).
It is also a premonition of his poetic use of scientific analysis and preoccupation with the bathroom as arena of social forces. It is not so much an investigation as a preparation, a statement proposing the intent to investigate, the methods to be used and the areas of special interest.
â€śModern Icons: Through the plugholeâ€ť by Iain Gale for The Independent
Tuesday, 21 June 1994
I like soap. It reminds me of my body. In this piece, Wash 1, Self, position 1, London 23 March 1994, there are 18 soap dishes along a wall, and in each there's a bar of soap. But instead of a logo, it has the name of a body part written on it. They make up a list of the parts of my own body and the order in which I wash them. In a way it's a self-portrait. A strange resonance is set up between the word on the bar and the expectation of it being a logo.
Another, larger, work, Dirt Urgent, is a straight pun. A single bar, it's to do with soap being paradoxical. There's a cynical, dark side to soap. When you have a bar of soap in your hand it has the potential for health and cleanliness, but as soon as you add water it changes state and has the ability to poison and pollute. It's one of life's dilemmas.