2016 > Second Hand Exhibition

We live in a fast and disposable society, once an object has served its purpose it is discarded and thrown away yet some of these objects are so important and imperative to us in the time they are required. The cigarette comes to mind, an object lusted after to feed an addiction, to relieve the stress of the day, consumed and used then the final dregs, the butt, discarded and thrown away. This butt in its relatively short time with its owner has become marked; the lipstick stain appears on the butt or moisture where it has come into contact with one of the most intimate areas of the body, the mouth. The owner of this object has imparted some of their personality onto it, the way in which it has been crushed or the placement of where it is discarded, inside a beer bottle, stubbed out on the ground, flicked off into the gutter, all of these little un-thought of acts add personality to that overlooked and discarded butt. These objects may be overlooked by a passer-by but to Bonnie Boogaard she sees this personality, the human touch on these objects and sets about bringing importance back to these objects that have lost their value.

Not solely focused on cigarette butts Bonnie looks to objects that have a clear human touch, a personality, the hand written shopping list or discarded book with a personalised hand written message in the front cover, the final touch to it the number 2 scribbled in the corner to tell the op shop goer it’s price, these objects all so important and in some cases cherished before being discarded. Bonnie sets about re-valuing these objects by recreating them through embroidery, each line and mark is painstakingly recreated and stitched, her hours of careful creation a way of re-applying importance. Through her hand stitching she is adding another layer of personality to these objects, creating a connection between herself and the object and then hopefully the viewer. When presenting her work we only see her recreations the original objects kept by Bonnie, a sign of the importance she places on these objects. Yet in her re-created messages in discarded books she covers over the original writing, allowing neither herself nor the viewer to ever see the original message, an act that could be seen to make us reflect on the loss of something we have discarded.

Seeing all of Bonnie’s carefully selected re-created objects together we as the viewer can start to construct a narrative, a somewhat sombre snapshot of a number of lives; the cigarette butts showing more hours of intimate contact than many people will have with another person. The shopping lists show the hum drum everyday, mediocre tasks and needs that need to be done and the forgetfulness that the hum drum brings with it. However it is the books that are possibly the most tragic of all the works; important messages and notes to the owner, often gifts or the address written in the inside cover so it can be returned if ever lost, yet these books no longer have a home to return to, their owner has either discarded them or judging by the years some of the notes were written their owners may have passed on. All of these objects together create a sombre yet intriguing body of work that leaves us as the viewer to consider the lives of others, the objects that we overlook and the imprints of our personality we are leaving on the objects we discard.

The Personality in the Discarded - by Lance Ward