Consumed: Stilled Lives11th July 2019 - 22nd August 2019
Location: Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk, Leeds, LS2 9AQ
Dr Dawn Woolley is a Research Fellow at Leeds Arts University. Her research examines the relation between people and objects, particularly how adverts produce and disseminate social values.
Her central argument is that commodity culture turns everything into adverts, from seventeenth century still-life paintings to selfies. The title ‘Consumed: Stilled Lives’ refers to the process that turns a consumer into a display of commodities. The consumer body becomes an advert for the brands it is adorned with and the social values that it reinforces. The still life table expresses the dual meaning of the term ‘consume’ because the objects on display are edible and imply an individual’s social position through their ability to buy commodities. Therefore, the still life table is a portrait of a particular type of consumer.
The exhibition encompasses a variety of different still lives, using media including photography, video and sound, that suggest different types of consumers and contradictory relationships to consumer culture.
In Woolley’s artwork, photography is both subject and medium: she produces photographs in response to adverts. Commercial advertising and social media networks are examined as methods of circulating the social value of commodities and also as sites for potential disruptions. Interventions into the commercial visual landscape include artworks produced for posters and billboards, and site-specific artworks for social networking sites.