Schwitters’ Army

For Kurt Schwitters, MERZ was his manifesto. He explained it as “the combination of all conceivable materials for artistic purposes, and technically the principle of equal evaluation of the individual materials.” His intention was to give anything from a used bus ticket to a piece of wire found on the street “equal rights with paint.” MERZ liberated artists by declaring anything potential material for their art making and, to illustrate this concept, he made hundreds of collages which he called MERZ pictures. Such forward thinking led art historian Isabelle Ewig to call him the “Father of the fathers of Pop.” Really, any collage artist working today owes a debt of gratitude to Schwitters, who not only legitimized the medium, but also established a working practice and aesthetic that is the basis of many artists’ contemporary practice.

Schwitters’ liberation of material was revolutionary to a world who thought of art as canvas, paint, and stone. In my work, however, I think very little of material. A child of the late 20th century, I grew up in a world where anything could be art and the true material of art was the idea. I think of Yves Klein having a spat with his gallery and declaring all of his paintings invisible. Or his Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility (1959–62) in which the artist traded empty spaces in Paris for pieces of gold. If the buyer agreed to burn the certificate, Klein would throw half the gold into the Seine to restore the natural order. These are forms of ritual play, gestures no different than Malevich’s Black Square or any work of art that asks the viewer to consider more than what they can literally see.

I speak about my work as an artist, as a writer, and as a culture worker, but I think of my work as contiguous parts whose gestalt, I hope, makes a grander point about the liberation of humanity. People tend to get what I mean when I say I am a writer or an artist, but culture worker is trickier. If my art uses paint and fragments of paper and my writing uses words, the material of culture work is the people you engage: other writers, academics, arts administrators, press agents, gallerists, and, of course, viewers and artists. My projects would be nothing without the communities of people involved…and there would be no point to any of it without those communities. Like Erykah Badu said, “We’re just emerging into a new state of being altogether.”

2019 was a transformative year for me. I’ve worked harder than I ever had and got farther than I’ve ever gone. As we start a new decade, and as I push on into middle age, the urgency to make some statements before I move on to another life becomes heightened. I think this is a normal part of aging, particularly when one has been lucky enough to spend much of their life engaged in vocational work. I will spend the first two months of 2020 in residency at MERZ Gallery in Sanquhar, Scotland where I plan to finish some texts that have been building up in me for a few years now. I am grateful for the privilege and want you to be part of it.

Since 2009, fellow Schwitterite David Rushton has been turning an old lemonade factory in rural Sanquhar into MERZ Gallery. He describes where he started, “Imagine a quarter acre plot of rubbish-strewn scrub-land in the centre of a small town. Something discarded and abandoned. It is divided by two rights of way to allow access to gardens serving two cottages along the eastern edge of the plot.” From this he has built a mixed gallery and studio space, a bothy for housing visiting artists, and a residency program to support their work at the site.” In parallel to Schwitters’ assembly of text on paper and his name ‘MERZ’ for a body of work, I thought there were resonances in adapting his approach and providing description to a small abandoned landscape imprinted with industrial and domestic histories, and that’s why I thought to call the site ‘MERZ’.” Schwitters took “the combination of all conceivable materials for artistic purposes” seriously and twice built immersive environments out of structures: MERZbau in Hanover and, later, the Elterwater MERZ Barn two-and-a-half hours south of Sanquhar in Langdale, Ambleside.

In preparing for the residency, I’ve been thinking how if Rushton could apply Schwitters’ philosophy to an old factory, I could apply it to my culture work. I often write about collage as a medium, a genre, and a community. More recently, I have been thinking of collage as a 21st century art movement. This is the idea I plan to explore while at MERZ Gallery. I invite you to join me and be part of the manifestation of the international collage community by sending a collage to MERZ Gallery. The collage will be documented and exhibited at the gallery in January and February. I will select one collage each day and share it online and via social media with a few words about how it connects to the work I am doing. And after the exhibition, the collage will become part of MERZ Gallery’s permanent collection, a forever stash of art marking the occasion that artists from all over the world manifested in Sanquhar. MERZ Gallery has agreed to maintain and care for the collection and to exhibit the collection in ten years, 2030, or give it to an organization that will do so.

Why? Because this is what we do in the collage community: we engage, we exchange, we manifest with one another. We emerge into a new state of being together. That is what makes art powerful. It connects us and takes us into the future.


Call to Artists

The original Call to Artists (SA143SW22EPM) is archived in the ephemera collection. It began, “Ric Kasini Kadour invites collage artists to submit a two-dimensional collage for inclusion in the Schwitters Army. There is no theme. If you’re a ripper, send him a ripped collage. If you’re a digital artist, print and send a digital work. If you’re a collaborator, send a collaboration. Send a collage that shows what kind of collage artist you are.”

Receiving & Processing the Artwork

Expecting around a hundred submissions, Kadour received two hundred works of art, each of which needed to be unpacked and documented. Quite amount of effort was made to sort out the delivery of the work and customs fees. The process was: open package, unpack collage; enter the information into the finding aid, assign id number; create a high-res image and a web image; make web page for the artwork; place the image and text in catalog; enter ephemera into finding aid, assign id numbers; email artist; and schedule social media post.

The Schwitters’ Army Collection of Collage Art

The artwork at MERZ Gallery is a permanent collection of international collage art curated by Ric Kasini Kadour in January and February 2020. The Collection is a survey of art by active collage artists in 2020. Artists who contributed artwork to the collection are Veterans of The Schwitters’ Army. The Collection lives at MERZ in Sanquhar, Scotland and online at the The Schwitters’ Army Website.

Schwitters’ Army Archive & Finding Aid

The finding aid enables an initial overview of the collection, links to images and additional archive information about the artist when available. It exists so that those interested in the collection can find items in the collection, learn more about the artists, and see examples of artwork from the collection. VISIT THE FINDING AID


The Schwitters’ Army Collection of Collage Art operates through a series of declarations issued by the Convenor, Curator and Representative of Schwitters’ Army Ric Kasini Kadour, V.S.A. These documents are signed and witnessed and generate ephemera which is placed in the archive. Declarations are both real documents and pieces of performance art in the vein of Yves Klein’s Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility. It is an act of history making by documenting an event and placing that documentation in archives.



“…and then the pandemic happened.” Kadour writes, “I returned to New Orleans at the end of February 2020. I celebrated Mardi Gras and the following week I found myself unexpectedly driving to Montreal, hoping to make it to the border before they closed it to entry. The pandemic left a number of key aspects of that project went unfinished. In 2022, we started to rectify that.”

World Collage Day 2020 in Sanquhar, Scotland

May 14, 2020. MERZ Gallery photographed each envelope received for Schwitters’ Army during Ric Kasini Kadour’s artist residency, January-February 2020. The images were made into a one-minute video which was posted on MERZ Gallery’s Instagram page. On World Collage Day, the doors of MERZ Gallery were opened to the street to reveal Julia Zinnbauer’s postcards celebrating postal and telephone communications, which are displayed in a purpose-built window in the shape of a red British telephone box. Postcards of Sanquhar by Kadour periodically replaced Zinnbauer’s postcards. By “opening the door”, the collage envelopes became part of “MERZ Inside:Outside”, in which work was displayed on the outside of the gallery for the duration of lockdown. MORE


In February 2020, David Rushton interviewed Ric Kasini Kadour about his residency. In October 2020, Rushton released a 24-minute documentary about the Schwitters’ Army Project. In the documentary, Kadour and Rushton discuss the theoretical underpinning of the project: how art history is made, how it is influenced by the market, and how Kurt Schwitters’ legacy continues to influence art making. “Collection building is a form of theatre, a performance in and of itself.”


On 8 April 2022, Kadour issued “Official Declaration regarding The Schwitters’ Army Reunion” and thus created the event. On Friday 9 September to 10 September 2022, The Schwitters’ Army Reunion Weekend is a gathering of Veterans of The Schwitters’ Army and their friends in Sanquhar, Scotland. On Friday, Veterans of Schwitters’ Army and their friends will have an informal reception at The Nithsdale Hotel in Sanquhar, Scotland. On Saturday, we will have brunch and then parade through town to MERZ Gallery where we will unveil a blue history plaque installed on the exterior of MERZ Gallery that commemorates The Schwitters’ Army. After some pomp and circumstance, we will spend the afternoon making collage and visiting the collection, which is in a secure location underneath MERZ Gallery. The collaborative collage, The Ritual, will be available for those who would like to contribute to it. Later that evening, we will return to The Nithsdale Hotel for an informal evening in the pub. EVENT WEBSITE

The Schwitters’ Army Book

In September 2022, Kolaj Institute will publish a book about the project. The Schwitters’ Army Book will contain essays about the project and a catalog of the artwork with commentary about the artists who are represented in the collection.

America’s Promise

Post 2528
11″x15″ print on 90 lb Fabriano cold press watercolor paper, 2021

A dry pool behind a chain link fence, worn down buildings in the desert, storm clouds loom, flowers bloom in the crusty soil, Ric Kasini Kadour’s America’s Promise considers broken places under late-stage capitalism as a way to ignite a thirst for caring about our communities.

About the Series

As part of my 2020-2021 Curatorial Research Fellowship from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, I have been driving around the continental United States visiting historical sites. Taking old highways and byways, I began to take note of the devastation left by late-stage capitalism. Communities, once thriving and dynamic, were laid bare when new Interstates shifted transportation routes miles to the north or south or when manufacturing was moved to sites with access to cheaper, more exploitable labor. This is what happens in a society where people work solely for their own gains. When the people can no longer extract wealth from a place, they move on and the community dies.

In the tradition of the great early 20th century documentary photographers who portrayed poverty for the Farm Service Agency, I wanted to capture these places as a way to start a conversation about what makes a healthy community. When Kristina Ricketts and Nick T. Place studied what makes communities work, they found, “Four significant factors were determined to set these successful communities apart from those less viable—effective communication, development of social capital, community engagement, and collaboration—across and within communities.” In other words, people worked together. Money, investment, productivity, and capital are not the cornerstones of viable communities. Caring is.

In 1909, Herbert Croly wrote about this in The Promise of American Life: “No doubt Americans have in some measure always conceived their national future as an ideal to be fulfilled. Their anticipations have been uplifting as well as confident and vainglorious…If its promise is anything more than a vision of power and success, that addition must derive its value from a purpose; because in the moral world the future exists only as a workshop in which a purpose is to be realized.”

America’s Promise is a folio of thirty photographs. The titular photograph shows a dry swimming pool behind a chain link fence. Twenty-eight photographs show worn down or abandoned buildings in the desert. Storm clouds loom in the sky. The last photograph shows flowers blooming in the crusty soil. For me, this series is not about poverty and hopelessness. America’s Promise is about remembering what good this country can do: build a town in a desert. My hope is that it will ignite a thirst for caring about our communities.

Paradise Cafe
11″x15″ print on 90 lb Fabriano cold press watercolor paper, 2021


Question: The style of these photographs feels familiar. Is that intentional?

I decided early on that I wanted to use a visual language familiar to the viewer so I turned to the deadpan photography of Bernd and Hilla Becher and shot the structures in that style. I focus on those buildings with architecture that is Mid-century Modern to contemporary because I want the photographs to feel familiar.

Question: Where were these photographs taken?

I am choosing not to disclose the name of the town. These buildings are ubiquitous across the American landscape. I want the viewer to think about this community as an Anytown or Everytown, USA.

More importantly, I don’t want to shame the people of this town. While shooting I got caught in a hail storm and I moved my car under a carport next to a bank. There I met a woman doing the same. I asked her why she lived there and what she liked about the town. She quite flatly said she had always lived there and didn’t want to live anywhere else, but that the town didn’t have much going on. She didn’t think it would change. I felt her hopelessness.

Prada 1 & 2
two, 11″x15″ prints on 90 lb Fabriano cold press watercolor paper, 2021

Question: Two of the photographs refer to the fashion house Prada. Why is that?

This diptych references the permanent installation, Prada Marfa, by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset on Highway 90 in Valentine, Texas. About two weeks before making the America’s Promise photographs, I visited Prada Marfa and was intrigued by the spectacle of a closed, luxury brand store in the isolated Texas grazing land. By titling these two photographs Prada 1 & 2, I wanted the diptych to parody Elmgreen and Draget’s installation and bring into the conversation themes of gentrification, tourism, and the role of art in economic revitalization.

Question: Aren’t these photographs another example of poverty porn?

I held back this series for months thinking about this question. The difference between images of poverty as a narrative about others and these photographs is the context in which I am asking them to be seen. I am not asking the viewer to be titillated by the spectacle of abandoned buildings. I chose not to include people in these photographs because I want the viewer to consider these structures as their own and to imagine what it would mean to care about this community. I want the viewer to see similar structures in their own community and to wonder why that restaurant is shut down or that bookstore is no longer open.

The City Store
11″x15″ print on 90 lb Fabriano cold press watercolor paper, 2021

Question: What do you want to accomplish by showing these photographs?

Discussion. I hope this series allows us to unpack what is happening in America in late-stage capitalism. Ricketts and Place’s findings about the relationship between viable communities and caring is urgent and timely. Croly’s ideas about America are not without their problems but, in 1909, he was thinking about some of the same problems we face today and offers some philosophical insight on how to approach them. Economic discontent is driving our troubled civic discourse and fueling extremism.

When we think about income inequality, we often think about people and our thinking about people is often being distorted by those in power who use racism and outdated Protestant notions of work ethic to divide and manipulate. I wanted to create a path forward that allowed us to think about communities, what makes them viable, secure, and safe. Our focus on the “who” in the civic discourse leads us quickly to “them” and “others” and away from “us.” My hope is that a sense of place can be what Croly refers to as that “workshop in which a purpose is to be realized.” That is not to skirt the issues of white supremacy and racial disparities, rather I want to walk into those conversations in a different way than we have in the past. Ultimately, the promise of America needs to be one made to all people and not a select few.

Ricketts, K., & Place, N.T. (2009, April). Making communities more viable: Four essential factors for successful community leadership. ResearchGate.
Croly, Herbert. (1909). The Promise of American Life. Macmillan.



The series consists of thirty, 11″x15″ prints on 90 lb Fabriano cold press watercolor paper. Edition of 5 plus one artist proof. Signed and numbered on back. (Edition 5 is a variable series where each print has been interrupted with a collage element.) In exhibition, the prints are presented in 13″x17″ frames. INQUIRE TO PURCHASE


The zine, America’s Promise, presents the photographs with text selected from The Promise of American Life by Herbert Croly (1909).

Details: 32 pages | 7”x5” | saddle-stitched booklet | 2021 | ISBN 978-1-927587-54-6 | AVAILABLE HERE

Pod Tower Historical Society

Pod Tower Living: Indian Hill, Pawlet, Vermont 1
30”x30”; artist-designed and printed wallpaper hand-cut collage on photomontage of artist photographs printed on 230gsm 9.5-mil matte fine-art paper; 2020

About the Project

The year is 2062. Climate change, political and social division, income inequality, and a series of pandemics fundamentally altered how humanity organizes itself. In this time, the focus is less on the accumulation of wealth and more on a sustainable future. The nuclear family, commuting, and suburban living are things of the past. People live in interconnected, vertical communities. People work less and they work remotely. These communities are multi-generational. They school and raise their children together. They care for their elders as a collective. Rather than living in houses spread out across the land, groups of people live in Pod Towers where the ecological footprint is concentrated. Ric Kasini Kadour draws out this scenario through a series of fictional oral histories and archive materials in which people from the future recount their past. The histories are accompanied by a series of collage works that illustrate the idea of “Pod Tower Living”.

Kadour uses art to tell stories that are often speculative in nature, operating from the viewpoint of the future, and involved in world building, mythologizing, and history making. In the project, “Pod Tower Historical Society”, Kadour recasts himself as the archivist and historian of a communal living space in the future. The collages use artist designed and printed wallpaper and original photographs, photomontages, or found photographs printed on fine paper. Fictional archive materials are made by adapting materials from community-specific Special Collections. In doing this, Kadour threads history into a story from the future that looks back and comments on the present.


Pod Tower Historical Society

The body of work manifests as an installation of the Pod Tower Historical Society where the viewer is encouraged to sort through the fictional archives. A growing collection of folders contains collaged architectural plans, newspaper clippings, photographs of people who lived in the pods, transcriptions of oral histories, and pages about people who lived in the pods. A finding aid details how the work was appropriated. Material can be purposed as zines and pamphlets. Other artists can be invited to contribute work to the archive.

Selections from the Pod Tower Historical Society
Selections from the Pod Tower Historical Society


Pod Tower Living: Indian Hill, Pawlet, Vermont 1
was included in
“Vermont Utopias: Imagining the Future”
at Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont
November 27th-December 28th, 2020
Curator: Jamie Franklin

Sanquhar Series

The Sanquhar Series is a collection of collage prints I made during my artist residency at MERZ Gallery in Sanquhar, Scotland during January and February 2020. I find walking and photographing a great way to learn about a new place. I spent a lot of time walking when I was in Sanquhar and took a lot of pictures of the town. One night back at MERZ, I started collaging them with wallpaper in a fashion similar to the image of Brooklyn in the Domino piece.

The images in the series show various places in the town: Hotel pubs like the Nithsdale and the Glendyne, churches like Saint Brides and Saint Ninians. Sanquhar Station connects the village to Glasgow and Dumfries. The Sanquhar Post Office dates back to 1712 and is the oldest operating post office in the world. Street & Stove Pipes, High Street, and Butcher Shop show scenes of the town. MERZ Gallery and A’ the Airts are key locations in Sanquhar’s cultural quarter. I also included landmarks like Old Town Hall, Tolbooth, and Wiggins Pub, where revered Scottish Poet Robert Burns stayed while visiting Sanquhar. At the end of the day, the series is a way of expressing my gratitude to the town and its people.

The series exists as limited edition, 10″x8″ prints on 90 lb Fabriano cold press watercolor paper and in two sets of eight postcards, “Greetings from Sanquhar”, packs one and two.

About Sanquhar

Sanquhar is a rural community of two thousand people whose past is more grand than its present. The Crichton family built the castle in the 13th century and it was visited, throughout the years by Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Edward I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI, who elevated Sanquhar to Royal Burgh in 1598. In the mid-17th century, the Crichtons sold the castle to the Duke of Queensberry who proceeded to build a pink-stone, fairy-tale castle, Drumlanrig, ten miles south of town. Vacant of its nobility, the castle crumbled. The town was caught up in a few hundred years of religious upheaval as Protestants and Catholics wrestled for control, but, in spite of this, agriculture flourished. In 1712, the town established the oldest functioning post office in the world on High Street. Sheep herding gave way to coal mining and industries that relied on coal emerged, such as weaving and carpetmaking. When capitalism took manufacturing global, the town suffered. Buildings, abandoned, went to disrepair. Sheep remain the largest agricultural product in the region, but the price of wool barely covers the expense. Like many rural, post-industrial, 21st-century towns, Sanquhar relies on a combination of service industry and tourism to sustain its local economy. The people are caught between a rich heritage and an uncertain future. They are kind and welcoming. In recent years, they built a community art hub, A’ The Airts, rediscovered their knitting heritage, and organized a tourism council. When the post office was threatened with closure, they rallied.

Enter David Rushton. The conceptual artist was a founding editor of the Coventry-based Analytical Art in the 1960s and worked in Art & Language from 1972 to 1975. Rushton went on to work on local television issues in the 1980s and 1990s. He maintains a practice of model building, which manifests his ideas about conceptual art. In 2009, he purchased a former lemonade factory in Sanquhar and began restoring and converting its buildings into art spaces. He has since added the old abattoir across the road. In addition to MERZ Gallery, Rushton has opened a Museum of Model Art, ZIP Studios, and established a series of caravans that, in addition to a bothy (i.e., a cottage), provide housing to visiting artists. Rushton is making Sanquhar an arts destination.

From the Residency Journal

The sheep in the road from Edinburgh didn’t stop us from making it to Sanquhar. David, from MERZ Gallery, handed me keys to the bothy and workshop and explained how the solar power and hot water worked. We made plans to meet tomorrow and said goodnight. I needed dinner. The man at the fish and chips shop (Helen’s Kitchen next to Wiggins Pub) asked me if I wanted to try haggis. I said, maybe not the first day, but he slipped some into my order anyway. Tasty. I like black pudding and deep fried things so it was in the realm of my palate. I crossed off what everyone says is a ‘must do’ when visiting Scotland. Back at the bothy, I took a nap. Got up around 11PM, unpacked and situated my things. I went for a walk about the town, up Queens Road to High Street then to the end of town where Sanquhar Castle sits on a hill. The town is quiet. Wonderfully, eerie quiet. And still. One car passed the whole time I was walking.

Days later, on another walk, I found myself at Queensberry Square, which was full of rabbits munching on grass. I couldn’t get close enough as they scattered on my approach. The air was crisp and the clouds from the day’s rain had cleared and the moon was out. I turned on Station Road and passed a mechanic with two antique cars parked outside. The road dead ended at the train station. I headed back down the hill, cut over on Buccleuch Road, and found myself back on High Street near the Nithsdale in no time. I took some pictures of the Tolbooth from the middle of the road and climbed the steps and photographed the empty village.

Collage Prints

Issued as an edition of ten with two artist proofs, prints are available at ARTSHOP. Individual prints are signed and numbered and available framed or unframed.


Sanquhar: Folio of Fourteen Prints by Ric Kasini Kadour. The folio includes a title sheet and the complete set of fourteen 8″x10″ collage prints on 90 lb Fabriano cold press watercolor paper; 2020. INQUIRE TO PURCHASE


In keeping with my practice of making art products, ARTSHOP is releasing two sets of postcards, “Greetings from Sanquhar”.  “Greetings from Sanquhar” postcards, pack one and pack two are available at ARTSHOP.

Exhibition History

Greetings from Sanquhar
at MERZ Gallery, Sanquhar, Scotland, United Kingdom
January-February 2020

Finding Gold

Gold in the Bark of the Locust Tree by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3

Finding Gold

Ten photographs by Ric Kasini Kadour

A time capsule, the Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont was designated a National Historic Landmark for its Underground Railroad history. Between 1791 and 1961, the site was the home of the Robinson family, abolitionists, farmers, artists, and authors who lived a vision of America fading from present day memory. They were entrepreneurial and resilient. They cared about the land, community, and social justice. On the ninety-acre property, an 18th Century farmhouse is surrounded by various outbuildings and foundations, old structures that tell the story of how the land was used.

Gold on These Blades of Grass by the Pond by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3

For the series “Finding Gold”, Kadour photographed the property around the Rokeby Museum. In the the studio, he decollaged the subjects and replaced them with 18-karat gold leafing.

In doing this, Kadour sets up a game with the viewer. One could view these pictures as a critique of how we are in the world, how as we move through the world, we can be so distracted by gold–a metaphor for money, time, media, gossip–that we may fail to see simple things that are beautiful and meaningful. One could also view these pictures as a instruction, a way of being in the world in an active state of attention. Kadour encourages the viewer to redefine for themselves what gold means, to notice the small, simple, beautiful things for ourselves…to find our own.

The prints of the 20” x 30” photographs are hand-embellished with 18 carat gold leafing and issued in an edition of three.

Gold on These Grapes Turning Sweet on the Vine by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3

Artist Statement

In his 1899 In New England Fields and Woods article, “October Days”, Rowland Evans Robinson wrote about the land around the Rokeby, “How sharp the dark shadows are cut against the sunlit fields, and in their gloom how brightly shine the first fallen leaves and the starry bloom of the asters. In cloudy days and even when rain is falling the depths of the woods are not dark, for the bright foliage seems to give forth light and casts no shadows beneath the lowering sky. The scarlet maples burn, the golden….”

Gold on the Old Barbed Wire Running through the Forest by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3

In Fall, I walked the land around the Rokeby, down trails that run along the old stone wall and up to the ridge where a clearing was cut to lend a view of the rolling fields that spill out to Lake Champlain. New York’s Adirondacks towered in the background. What fruit remained from summer clung to branches and vines. When I walk with my camera, I tend to look at the land differently. I seek out moments: a blade of grass, an interesting pile of rocks. I try to look for what isn’t obvious. The pursuit of subject becomes a different kind of meditation. It becomes hunting and gathering rather than an exercise in art making. So many little rewards come to me when I engage the world in this way, when I move through the land with this engaged looking.

Gold in This Woodpecker Hole by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3

I call this series of photographs with applied gold leaf, “Finding Gold”, because it comes from this act of searching and prospecting, but it is also a message to the viewer, to seek out these things, to move through the land with an attentive eye and marvel at the lonely burst of flowers, the single apple dangling from a stem, the lone tree reaching up across a scene. Let your eye follow the rusty string of barbed wire over rocks and in between the brush. Find the old fence post, the woodpecker holes, and gold in the bar of the locust trees.

Gold on This Fence Post by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3

Rowland wrote with great poetry about this land. “Fields as green as when the summer birds caroled above them, woods more gorgeous with innumerable hues and tints of ripening leaves than a blooming parterre, are spread beneath the azure sky, whose deepest color is reflected with intenser blue in lake and stream. In them against this color are set the scarlet and gold….”

Gold on This Flower by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3
Gold on This Tree Down by the Sheep Dip by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3
Gold on These Vines Growing off the Red Trail by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3
Gold on This Apple Still on the Tree by Ric Kasini Kadour
20″ x 30″; archival print with 18 carat gold leafing; 2018, Edition of 3

MERZ Gallery Artist-in-Residence

In January and February 2020, I am the Artist-in-Residence at MERZ Gallery in Sanquhar, Scotland. The residency and film documentation are supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

About MERZ Gallery

Located in the former lemonade factory in Sanquhar, MERZ is the project of artist and filmmaker David Rushton, who is developing once derelict and neglected sites into art spaces. In addition to MERZ, he has turned a former abattoir into ZIPStudio and the Museum of Model Art and began manifesting a village of caravans that can house artists during the summer. Future additions include a second small studio with accommodation (Tadpole), a pop up cinema/further exhibition or studio space (кино), an unheated studio (FURTH), and sculpture green in addition to the work-shed and yard around the MERZ gallery and Bothy. Learn more at

At the Residency

At this residency, I will activate as an artist, a writer, and a culture worker through a series of projects.

I will create a body of work that reflects my experience in Sanquhar. John Enderfield observed of Kurt Schwitters, “He used paper of virtually every possible origin and description that was available to him.” The art made while in residence will be exhibited at MERZ Gallery and shared online via social media.

My writing will focus on the idea of collage as a 21st century art movement. The writing will deconstruct the idea of an art movement and make the argument that collage, as a 21st century art movement, redefines how artists relate to one another and how art functions in society. I will also maintain a journal of thoughts and observations while in residency. 

As a way of demonstrating collage as a 21st century art movement, I will build an international collection of collage. The Schwitters’ Army Collection of Collage Art at MERZ Gallery will be a permanent collection, a survey of art by collage artists, alive and active in 2020, who responded to a call to artists and shipped, via post, a single collage to MERZ Gallery. Components will include a Finding Aid, a website, and a book of collage in the collection. Learn more at the Schwitters’ Army website HERE.

Methodology & Values

I will build the Schwitters’ Army Collection in a transparent and open manner. The collection will be open to any artist who sends a collage. The Finding Aid will be live so that each day, anybody can access the document to follow the process. 

I will communicate via social media (Instagram and Facebook) on a daily basis. Instagram @kasini will share personal experiences of being at the residency in Sanquhar. Instagram @kolajmagazine will share collage registered to the collection. On Instagram, I will post reports on work I am doing while in residence, pictures of the gallery and installation of artwork, process work, and events. 

I will maintain public hours at MERZ Gallery: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from Noon to 3PM when anyone can stop in for a visit. I will make and post a sign that reads “The Artist Is In” and I will be available for visits by appointment to those who email.

18 Random Postcards: These Lights and Shades

Between 2010 and 2012, I made 226 photographs under a project I called “These Lights and Shades.” I took inspiration from the lines of a Walt Whitman poem, “These lights and shades, this drama of the whole, This common curtain of the face contain’d in me for me, in you for you, in each for each,… This heart’s geography’s map…” One of Whitman’s last poems, he wrote it upon seeing a portrait of himself by the English illustrator William J. Linton. Though not Whitman’s intended meaning, I’ve always preferred to read “Out from Behind This Mask” as a poem about two former lovers passing in the street. On seeing each other, they remember the lifetime they shared. Passion flashes between them and then memories and then they move on.

The moment stirred by Whitman’s poem is akin to those moments when I want to take a picture. Some bold colors, an interesting composition, texture, light, mood…all these things come together and I pull out my camera and take a shot or two. This is not as much art making as it is visual journaling. It is a way to move through the world, to acknowledge a moment, and to move on through the day.

The original pack of 18 postcards.

As an affordable art product, I printed these photographs as postcards and put them into packs of 18. The brown envelopes had a white sticker on the front and one of the postcards on the back. I’d always select one of the better images for the outside of the package.

These were sold at various fairs and pop-ups and though ARTSHOP. In 2013, when I started doing INSTANT ARTSHOP, a version of the ARTSHOP project as an intervention outside of an art context, I took 18 Random Postcards to flea markets, grocery stores, malls, and other public spaces that are separate from contemporary art spaces. Each pack of postcards contained a random selection. Because it was impossible to collect all of them and because people never knew what was inside the envelope, the act of selling led to some great conversation. The purchaser needed to perform a leap of faith to commit. Many did.


The Complete Set

The complete set of 226 postcards.

This collection of 226 photographs is the complete set of postcards. Only five complete sets have been made. The Complete Set of 18 Random Postcards is available at ARTSHOP here.


Postcards manifested as a grid.

Each postcard is 5.5″x5.5″. The full set of 226 photographs exhibits in a grid that is 105″x105″ or in a long presentation that is 35″x315″, 26 linear feet.

Single Random Postcards & Packs of 18 Random Postcards

Packs of 18 Random Postcards are available at ARTSHOP here. If you would like a single postcard sent to you (for free), send an email with your complete mailing address.

The Kunstkammer

The Kunstkammer

Historically, Kunstkammers were magical places. A precursor to the museum, they originated in the castles and manors of European nobility in the sixteenth century. They held collections of various, dissimilar objects that demonstrated the owner’s curiosity about the world. The rooms were places for contemplation, but they were also often the site of meetings where people could come together to share ideas and discussion. In Renaissance Quarterly, Francesca Fiorani wrote, “The Kunstkammer was regarded as a microcosm or theater of the world, and a memory theater,” and in this sense, my hope is that the viewer will engage with installation to consider the viewer’s place in the world.

Operating from Year 2199, “Kunstkammer MMCXCIX” bends time and history by blending historical fact and imagined fictions to tell a story from the future about the present. The stories and perspective 180 years in the future will be different than what we know today. Knowledge will be gained, but it will also be lost. “Kunstkammer MMCXCIX” invites the viewer to employ what writer Alexis Clements describes as art’s great technology, “to inquire about the world without being limited to facts or logic or notions of objective truth.” The installation also takes a nod from John Green’s Looking for Alaska, in which he observes, “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.” We use our memories to imagine the potential of what may happen, but also what we can accomplish or achieve, to entertain what is possible. In creating and recreating this Kunstkammer, I invite the viewer to enter this theater of memory and consider the future of themselves and their community.

The objects in “Kunstkammer MMCXCIX” continue a practice of intervening on photographic portraits to portray a moment of expanded consciousness. I do this by collaging digital reproductions of the photographs that are embellished with paint or collaged elements. My intention in doing this is to bring the photograph into the present moment and create a connection between the viewer and history. “Kunstkammer MMCXCIX” includes sculptures and paintings that serve as physical manifestations of stories. Every object in “Kunstkammer MMCXCIX” has a story attached to it.

Some of the stories told about Rutland seem may silly but they are similar to the stories we tell about other cultures, stitched with ignorance and fantasy as we try to fill in the gaps of knowledge. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks about the danger of the single story, how simple narratives of others result in a poor understanding of our complex, shared humanity. This applies as much to the coworker sitting next to us as it does to the people living on a continent across the ocean. And it applies to ourselves when we decide that our story is simple and limited. Every person can write their own story, but to do that, they must imagine all the stories that are possible. My hope for the viewer is “Kunstkammer MMCXCIX” prods this thinking.

The ongoing series of installations debuts in Rutland. Over the next five years, I plan to move the Kunstkammer around North America and grow it to a thousand pieces as it is installed in and responds to various communities. The installation features some imagery of people from Rutland’s history. The photographs and stories blend facts and fictions. The introductory statement was made by replacing the word “Africa” with “Rutland” in the wall texts for the African Art collection at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Viewers are invited to enter the room and imagine the greatness of Rutland, past and future. Viewers are also invited to consider what is real and what is imagined, how we know what we know, and how we choose which histories to tell. Knowledge evolves over time and it is foolish to consider what we know now will not also evolve. And that is the point of “Kunstkammer MMCXCIX”: to lead us to new knowledge and realities.

In Exhibition

“Rutland: Real and Imagined”
Curated by Stephen Schaub
Alley Gallery, Center Street Alley, Rutland, Vermont
January 31st to March 9th, 2019

Opening Reception: February 9, 2019, 6-8PM


For the exhibition, “Rutland: Real and Imagined”, I convert a room of the gallery into a Kunstkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosities. The installation features sculptural objects and small, collaged, historic photographs, some of which reference people from Rutland’s history. Viewers will be invited to enter the room and imagine the greatness of Rutland, past and future. In addition to the installation, I created a book that has images and writing from the project.

Rutland: Real and Imagined from Stephen Schaub on Vimeo.


John Dreams of Lemons by Ric Kasini Kadour
(8″x8″; collage print on paper; 2018)

Posted in Art

My Pet Rock Has A Red Triangle Heart

Where My Pet Rock Came From

Available at ARTSHOP

Late stage capitalism sucks. We live in a time of unprecedented resources and technology. Yet, no one seems happy. People seemed overly concerned someone else is trying to get one over on them. Folks are obsessed with money and how to pay for things. The smallest illness can put someone in an unrecoverable economic downward spiral. In America, we can’t address basic social problems because somehow it would upset the financial order of things. My friends work too much, struggle too much, and fear falling off what little pile they have made for themselves.

I make art to tell stories. I brought home a couple of coasters from the bar thinking I would make some little paintings on them. I painted them with gesso and transferred a page from an old encyclopedia I had lying around. The first painting was a doodle. I was laying fields of color, aqua, bright orange, soft purples. For this triangle in the center, I mixed some red watercolor with red acrylic and I liked how it was translucent. Later, when I looked at the small painting, I thought, if I had a pet rock that is how I would paint it. My Pet Rock Has a Red Triangle Heart was born.

My Pet Rock Has A Red Triangle Heart In A Field of Letters
5″ diameter; image transfer, acrylic on bar coaster; 2018

My work habits are such that I get up and write and when my head is too gooey to write some more, I take a nap. And when I wake up, if I don’t feel like writing, I make art. Often what I am writing about filters into my art making. Lately, I’ve been trying to understand the relationship between art and society. This means I’ve been reading a lot of Donald Kuspit who writes things like this:

“The issue that haunts this paper is whether ideology, including the ideologies of technology and corporate capitalism, which converge in the ideology of the spectacle–a mind-numbing dumbing down of consciousness–represses, even denies, or at least systematically suppresses, interiority and subjectivity, or whether the spectacle grants them a new lease on life, bringing with it a fresh consciousness of feelings and sensations, more broadly, of subjective possibility, indeterminate yet invigorating, despite capitalism’s apparent determination to manufacture spectacular appearances that belie and discredit their reality, for feelings and sensations interfere with efficient functioning in the world of action and technological society.” (1)

Kuspit got me on to the work of Daniel Bell who predicted the post-industrial society back in 1973. Bell also tried to understand the contradictions of capitalism, specifically, how we can live in a time of unprecedented resources and be so unhappy.

When I get to deep into economic theory, I like to watch YouTube videos about history. I stumbled onto this Channel 4 documentary hosted by Rupert Everett, The Scandalous Adventures of Lord Byron, in which Everett retraces Byron’s early 19th century jaunt through the Continent. While the Grand Tour was a common thing for noblemen to do, Byron’s journey was special in that he was seeking liberation of his self and his creative soul, which he found. And I thought, Nobody liberates themselves any more. Probably because it costs too much. And then I decided to send My Pet Rock on a Grand Tour of his own. A few paintings, some collaging, and some writing and word-collaging later, My Pet Rock: A Tragedy & A Love Story was made.

My Pet Rock is a tragedy and a love story where the Byronic hero journeys to the Caribbean to Europe to the Middle East. He meet artists and writers, longs for lovers at home, and dies after eating Kentucky Fried Chicken across from the Great Pyramids of Giza. With guest appearances by Carl Werner, Louis Marie de Schryver, Eduard Gaertner, Jean-Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, Tears for Fears, Dean Martin, Rudolf Ernst, Antonio Maria Esquivel, Agostino Brunias, Daniel Bell, José de Espronceda, and Duckey. My Pet Rock is a parable about capitalism. I hope you enjoy it.


(1) Kuspit, D. (2011, February 8) Secrets of Success: Paradoxes and Problems of the Reproduction and Commodification of Art in the Age of the Capitalist Spectacle. Retrieved from HERE.




Portraits on Arrival

“Portraits on the Arrival” is an incomplete series of photographic portraits in which I intercede to portray a moment of expanded consciousness. I imagine the men portrayed here on the verge of a new way of thinking and, to commemorate the moment, have their picture taken. The swirl of color conveys the ecstatic joy that comes with new ideas and fresh thinking. This is not typically a moment we commemorate in our culture. Perhaps it should be.

At the end of 2017, I emerged from a dark, two-year period where I largely resisted having a place in the world. I was waiting to die and then when I didn’t, I realized I had to figure out what I wanted from this new reality. I took interest in the divine nature of humanity, how, through small action and intimate gesture, we manifest change in the world around us. How do we liberate our neighbor? How do we free the potential of those around us? If I were to remain in the world, how did I move through it so the world was more how I wanted it to be? I took inspiration from an interview Erykah Badu gave to Vulture Magazine in which she says, “I’m not a political chick at all. I’m macrocosmic in lieu of microcosmic. I see a whole big picture. I see freedom for the slaves and the slave masters. For everybody. We’re just emerging into a new state of being altogether, and the anger now is about people scared of that change.” I read Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light (1967), a book about a god living among an alternate humanity. Zelazny explains divinity, “Being a god is being able to recognize within one’s self these things that are important, and then to strike the single note that brings them into alignment with everything else that exists. Then, beyond morals or logic or esthetics, one is wind or fire, the seat, the mountains, rain, the sun or the stars, the flight of an arrow, the end of a day, the clasp of love. One rules through one’s ruling passions. Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, ‘He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destructions. She is Love.’ So to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, through, everyone who beholds them.” And I reconnected with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s 1714 work Monadology. The 18th century philosopher saw himself as a mind in a world of minds where thoughts were the only things that were real. He believed space and time were an illusion. This led him to write, “Souls in general are living mirrors or images of the universe of created things, but that minds are also images of the deity or author of nature himself, capable of knowing the system of the universe, and to some extent of imitating it through architectonic ensamples, each mind being like a small divinity in its own sphere.”

I believe in the infinity of things, that space, time, resources, and love are limitless, or at least potentially so. In our world, we are constantly being told we have less, that there isn’t enough time in the day, not enough housing for everyone, not enough money to provide health care and education to our neighbors, and those who try to convince us of this often want us to fight with each other about it. Humanity has achieved many god-like things. We turn night into day. We fly. We leave the planet. We communicate across great distances instantly. I see no reason why we can’t achieve other god-like things that are a mystery to us only because we have not yet realized how to bring it into the world. If we believe anything and everything is possible, then the question is simply how do we work together to make it so. This is my idea of what a divine humanity would be like. What is yours?

I start these works by painting gestures on paper. I then photograph the paintings and remove any surface that remains in the image. These fragments are then collaged with a found photograph where the subject is removed from the portrait and the collage of paint gestures are inserted behind the sitter. In doing this, I am altering the space of the found photograph and recasting the image’s function. These men are now icons of new ideas and fresh thinking.

Collage Prints
Portraits on Arrival

Exhibition History

Altered Spaces
at Spruce Peak Arts Center in Stowe
September 13, 2018-January 7, 2019
Reception: Saturday, October 6, 5:30PM
Curator: Kelly Holt

9th Annual UVM Alumni Art Show
at Dudley H. Davis Center
October 4-November 15, 2019
Reception: Saturday, October 5, 2-3:30PM


“Like George Seurat’s La Grande Jatte, or more recently Gerhard Richter’s streaky ‘motion paintings,’ Kadour’s acrid pinks, electric oranges, saturated blues, and hi-temp lemon yellows blend from afar and separate when viewed close up. This vibrates the subject from the 19th century to the present.”

-Jon Meyer, Art New England, January/February 2019. [website]

Posted in Art

Not Ideas About the Thing, But the Thing Itself and Pictures of It

Not Ideas About the Thing, But the Thing Itself and Pictures of It.

Conceptual installation by Ric Kasini Kadour


Not Ideas About… trades on the Wallace Stevens’ poem of a similar title and plays with ideas about art, objects, and images. I present to the viewer ceramic cups wrapped in a newspaper alongside a framed print that shows three views of the object. In doing this, I wish to ask the viewer to consider what the art is. Is it the photography of the package? Is it the package as sculptural object? Is it the wrapped, unseen ceramic cups? Or is it the idea of setting these two things beside one another in a gallery? Stevens often played with notions of fiction versus reality, the mind’s perception or the truth of the matter. My hope is that this work will encourage the viewer to find their own “new knowledge of reality.”


Object: 10″x4″x4″; newspaper and ceramic, 2015

Photograph: framed, 12″ x 15″; photograph, 2015


Gift exhibition at Moon Gallery
February 12 – March 9, 2018
Berry College, Mt. Berry, GA
Juror: Jordan Amirkhani


Posted in Art

What Will Be of Us

“What Will Be of Us” is a continuation of the series, “I Keep Myself Together“, in which Kadour pairs photographs with texts to evoke a response in the viewer. “I am interested in the isolation of contemporary life and the sometimes intense personal drama that plays out without anyone really knowing. When I watch people, I often make up stories in my head about them. The titles of the photographs are snippets of those stories; moments of dialogue in a full work of theatre. By presenting the images in a circle, I hope to convey to the viewer the sense that they are peeking into a world or looking through a spyglass,” wrote Kadour in 2013. In working this way, Kadour taps into the tradition of text-based works expressed by Lawrence Weiner and Martin Firrell and the text/image collage work of Barbara Kruger.



“What Will Be of Us” is intended to be exhibited as a grid that alternates texts and images.

Individual prints are 12″x12″ in 12.5″x12.5″ frames. Edition of 3. INQUIRE TO PURCHASE

Zine: What Will Be of Us

This zine, What Will Be of Us, shows the text with matching images in book form. Details: 36 pages | 7”x5” | saddle-stitched booklet | 2016 | ISBN: 978-1-927587-20-1 | AVAILABLE HERE




The Veneration of Ruskin

“The Veneration of Ruskin” celebrates the 19th century art critic John Ruskin. The 200th anniversary of his birth will take place in 2019. The project draws on Kadour’s interest in apotheosis, altar making, and still life paintings. The series of eleven collages cannibalize Ruskin’s drawings and Dutch flower paintings. Accompanying the collages is an altar to Ruskin that features a fabric tapestry and a table of objects and flowers designed to evoke the still lifes used in the collage. In addition to an exhibition, the project is manifested in a zine and a catalog that reproduces the eleven collages and the source works Kadour used to make them.

In the catalog essay, Kadour explains that he selected Ruskin because of a personal affinity with the writer and artist, because of his vision of the role of art in society, and because he was “moved by Ruskin’s sadness, the self-torment, and his beautiful mind to venerate him with flowers.”

Kadour works conceptually and manifests concepts in prints, photographs, and small sculptures designed to be exhibited in installation. The project continues Kadour’s exploration of influences that began in 2012 after the death of his grandmothers. In the project, “Twelve Days of Christmas Gifts for Yoko Ono,” each day from December 25th, 2012 to Epiphany on January 6th, 2013, Kadour made a “Christmas gift” for Yoko Ono, gifts for grandmothers who were no longer there, inspired by a cultural grandmother. The objects varied from prints to small sculptures to a collection of Edo-period Japanese poetry to performative acts. Each “gift” was documented and images and the instructions were shared online and through social media and later as a book. The project also continues Kadour’s work using altar making as an expression of contemporary art. The series “My Junk Taste Like Flowers” is both a documentation of objects and an expression of joy about them. This series is photographs of sculptures made with “junk” which are venerated with flowers. Kadour writes, “Arranging my junk was like restacking and reordering memories. The whole was other than the sum of its parts.”

In “The Veneration of Ruskin,” the collages serve as secular version of the Stations of the Cross leading the viewer to an artistic altar. The purpose of this is rooted in an understanding of Modernism that relocates the divine to the individual. Kadour cites a deep human need to apotheosize heros, something that is increasingly difficult to do in our society. While Kadour is interested in expressing veneration for a personal hero, the purpose of the exhibition is to model behavior and encourage the viewer to ask of themselves: Who would they venerate and how?


Shrine to Ruskin

Shrine to Ruskin is a variable installation of a fabric tapestry, found and plaster objects, and silk flowers on a raised surface. The objects and flowers are intended to evoke the still lifes used in the collage. About Altar Making

Veneration of Ruskin Collages

The series consists of eleven prints: 10″x8″ collages on 15″x12″ paper. Edition of 5 plus two artist proofs. INQUIRE TO PURCHASE

Apotheosis Ruskin

This zine, Apotheosis Ruskin, is an aesthetic rehash of the series in book form. Details: 24 pages | 7”x5” | saddle-stitched booklet | 2017 | ISBN 978-1-927587-21-8 | AVAILABLE HERE

The Veneration of Ruskin

The catalog shows eleven collages and the source works Kadour used to make the collages. An essay about why Kadour chose Ruskin also appears in the catalog. Details: 28 pages | 10″x8″ | saddle-stitched | 2017 | ISBN 978-1-927587-22-5 | AVAILABLE HERE

Talk: “Ruskin at 200”

In a forty-five minute slide-show and talk, Kadour speaks about Ruskin’s philosophy of art in society, the importance and problem apotheosis in contemporary society (and art in particular, i.e. How do we separate art from problematic artists), and the concept of secular altar making.

My Junk Taste Like Flowers

In early 2012, I had been thinking about objects and particularly why objects matter and why we collect the stuff we do. Around that time, I interviewed Katharine Mulherin at her gallery on Queen West in Toronto. I learned we share an interest in collecting seemingly random objects, things that are not quite art, not really design, but objects from the past whose shape, form, or colour appeals to our senses or the moment. I think of these objects as artifacts of someone else’s personal history that I appropriate into the grand narrative of an unwritten memoir. My partners call these objects junk.

I asked Katharine why she collects the things she does. “Oh, I don’t know,” she responded initially and then paused and said, “Joy. I collect things because they bring me joy.”

The series “My Junk Taste Like Flowers” is both a documentation of objects and an expression of joy about them. This series is photographs of sculptures made with my junk which are then venerated with flowers. Arranging my junk was like restacking and reordering memories. The whole was other than the sum of its parts.


“My Junk Taste Like Flowers” is manifested as an installation, a series of colour instant photographs, and an artist book.

Altar to My Junk

Altar to My Junk is a variable installation of found and plaster objects with silk flowers on a raised surface. About Altar Making

Altar to My Junk


I documented each of these sculptures using a Polaroid 360 Land Camera and Fujifilm FP-100c to make a colour instant photograph in editions of three, except for the titular piece, My Junk Taste Like Flowers, which is an edition of 100 and released as an artist book.



Object & Joy

A booklet containing the essay “Object & Joy: My Junk Taste Like Flowers” and images of photographs from the series.


My Junk Taste Like Flowers 
by Ric Kasini Kadour
4.25” x 3.25”
colour instant photograph

edition of 100



Galerie Maison Kasini, February & March 2013


Clouds :: Knowledge

An ongoing project, Clouds :: Knowledge investigates the visual imagery of sky and clouds as a symbol of knowledge and epistemology in contemporary life.


One day, I was sitting at a coffee shop with an artist friend and trying to remember the name of this other artist. I picked up my iPhone and started to Google descriptions of his artwork in the hope that I would stumble across an image of his work and thus be reminded of his name. I have an awful memory. I often get up from my desk to get a cup of coffee and forget why I got up before I make it to the kitchen. Some days, the more things I learn, the dumber I feel. But we live at a time when all the knowledge of the world is carried on our person, in a little box. Of course, it is not all in the box. Knowledge exists in the cloud of the Internet which is really just a system of computer networks that are linked together, but are ultimately out of sight and out of mind. But it isn’t really. Signs of the Internet are everywhere. You see signs advertising wi-fi on the door of a café or people using smart phones or web links printed in the visual patter of the city. We are constantly reminded that this cloud of knowledge is nearby.

Philosophers of epistemology suggest two types of knowledge: a priori knowledge which is independent of experience and a posteriori knowledge which is dependent on empirical evidence or experience. I wanted to imagine a third type of knowledge: a cumulus knowledge which hovers over your head or sits on your shelf waiting for you to use it.


Clouds :: Knowledge exists as the installation/performance piece, All My Thoughts Are in the Air; the sculptural object All My Knowledge Lives in a Box; and the paper sculpture cum art product, Knowledge Cloud, which reinterprets the idea as a print and mini-cloud sculpture that unfolds as a free standing pop-up, and collage prints.

Posted in Art