Jessica Jackson Hutchins
Couch For A Long Time
Couch, newspaper, ceramic
73.7 x 193 x 90.2 cm
The title of Couch for a Long Time, Jessica Jackson Hutchinsâ€™ mixed media sculpture, implies a kind of indolence, a suggestion of idling, and the colour-streaked ceramic pots and sculptures seem to sit on the receiving cushions of their newspaper- clad couch like lazy characters in front of an absent TV. The physicality of the ceramic piecesâ€™ forms â€“ their bone- or flesh-coloured glazed surfaces, their bottom- heavy fatness â€“ invokes the human body; even the couch itself, its cushions bulging like tongues in reaction to its occupants, has a
bodily fatness, a subservience to gravity. By contrast, the couchâ€™s surface, covered with newspapers, implies a different temporal idea: the speed of a news story, its sudden irrelevance. That the newspaper clippings repeatedly refer to the then-incumbent President Obama gives these parallel speeds added poignancy. Differing rates of change â€“ the ceramic pieces, protected by a sheen of glaze, will remain intact for as long as theyâ€™re carefully held; both the material and the content of the newspapers become dated almost immediately after theyâ€™re printed â€“ gives the title additional meaning. Obama became a vessel for certain ideas of optimistic change after the Bush presidency; debatably, those ideas have dated, even lost their lustre. The couch, too, accrues meaning by association: once in Hutchinsâ€™ childhood home, its newspaper covering is a kind of protection, as though the room around it were being painted. That, and the preservation implied by the vessels, gives Hutchinsâ€™ piece the gravitas of a domestic monument, to be remembered â€“ with a kind of sad hope â€“ for â€śa long timeâ€ť.