Just Help Yourself Why Don’tcha?, 10,000 rings , zinc, silver, lead, coal, tin and gold in beeswax, wall text, box, 2013.
Just help yourself why don’tcha. Well, why don’tcha? Go ahead, please touch! You are however, going to have to squat down, sit down, or perhaps get on all fours, stretch out, lean forward, and reach across as far as you can. Can you find that one out of the 10,000 rings presented to you that fits all your criteria; size, colour, shape, is it the first one you inspect, or the penultimate? Bear in mind, you’re spending an awfully long time choosing an ephemeral object, the joy of wearing it might only last a day, perhaps a week, or maybe you decide to prolong the delight and never put it on, only housing it in that dish on your bedside dresser, inevitability gathering dust until the hottest day on record arrives and melts it into an indistinguishable mess. In this moment however that all seems beside the point, it’s the temptation, decision-making, excitement and buzz, and it could all be yours for the low, low price of, say, a cheese sandwich, or a coffee (in times of severe inflation). I’d reckon that’s a pretty decent deal! Don’tcha think?
What’s that? You’ve just spotted the solid gold ring in the middle, it looks like it’s just out of your reach, but you want that one, don’tcha? Perhaps if you get your friend to hold onto your waistband while you lean forward, do you think you’ll get a pinky to it? Maybe you could fashion a reaching implement out of an umbrella, a walking stick, or possibly some drinking straws you’ve stuck together? You can feel a growing sense of excitement mounting in the gathering crowd of onlookers. DAMN! That person over there has a much more cunning and successful plan of attack, you’re too late. The gold ring has been snaffled up and all for the price of lousy cheese sandwich. Sigh.
Just help yourself why don’tcha is a performative installation work of 10,000 rings by jeweller, Bridget Kennedy. Throughout the duration of the exhibition the audience is invited to select and remove a ring from the installation in exchange for a nominal amount of money. This transaction takes the form of an honesty box situated at the periphery of the artwork. Using the process of casting, the rings are made from beeswax combined with a number of impurities such as lead, zinc, coal, and silver. The circular arrangement visually graduates from neutral tones towards a darkened centre, in which lies, almost hidden, a singular 18kt gold ring. These history-laden materials are often at the cause of many a political, environmental, and sometimes personal debate. In this work Kennedy seeks to highlight the notion of value, cost and worth by exploring the relationship between consumption and consequence. Kennedy’s ‘writing on the wall’ reads Lead Silver Zinc Tin Coal Gold. It seems she has given us fair warning.
– Zoe Brand, jeweller and curator.