“Everything you can imagine is real”
- Pablo Picasso
In the art world, a found object is a natural or man-made object that is found by an artist and kept because of some particular interest that the artist sees in it. It could be a piece of wood found in a forest or something he bought in a store.
Found objects can end up being the actual works of art themselves or (more commonly), they can provide inspiration to the artist for other works.
In 1917, Marcel Duchamp presented what was to become probably the most famous/infamous piece of Found Art in art history. Duchamp’s work consisted of a porcelain urinal placed on its back and signed R. Mutt. Fountain (as it is titled) is a controversial yet iconic work that has become a figure example of artistic expression.
Another example is Dali’s Retrospective Bust of a Woman, which is made from bread, corn, feathers, sand and other objects.
American artist Carl Andre often uses manufactured objects (most famously, bricks or copper), to create minimalist sculptures. His aim is to get the viewers to focus on form rather than any skill or technique possessed by the artist.
Found Object art isn’t a new thing, however. From the dawn of humanity, humans have created art using objects they have found, such as making jewellery with stones.
Take a look around your house and collect objects that could be used in making an art work.
Don’t worry about making a piece of art today though, you can save your pieces for another day.
The purpose of this task is to take a look around you and notice the usefulness of everyday objects and to look for interesting features in those items that are familiar.