Cultural Product

Cultural Product
Serving Suggestion

Sunday, July 13, 2003


I wish I were bigger

Fatter? Taller? More famous? Or just giant?

I wish my work was bigger!
The stain on the carpet looks like spew. The day I was minding the show outside on the pavement someone had done a big red spew and I knew I had done right.

Catalogue Essay
Sarah Goffman’s wish to be ‘bigger’ is a clue to the ethos of her latest installation. If only she was more capacious, then she might be able to harbour all the junk in the world. This passion for objects may be read as a symptom of intense curiosity. While studying literature at university, Goffman was plagued by the thought that she could never read everything, marvelling at libraries stacked with more books than she could hope to absorb. Evidently she feels the same way about all the detritus she now seeks out. Her plaintive proclamation may be understood as the inevitable outcome of a collector’s obsession, or the manifestation of a desire to save the planet from rubbish. Indeed, the two aims may be intertwined in an altruistic yet covetous drive to improve the environment.
Goffman’s installation, made almost completely from found materials, is full of intriguing combinations, seemingly infinite in their variation, like a microcosm of the world made from trash. Here, the artist suggests new aesthetic forms for things which are usually despised or beneath notice. Arranged in organic formations, these cast-offs appear compellingly beautiful. A tree branch in a giant bag, plastic shopping bags sport customised pockets and toilet paper is embroidered like exquisite craftwork. Commonplace items are repeatedly transformed from the prosaic into the decorative, blurring the boundaries between categories.
While this composition may be read as an inspiring DIY dream, or a masterpiece of waste management, darker themes may be discerned. The structures on display have unmistakably apocalyptic resonances, suggesting a crumbling cityscape after a disaster. Miniaturised scaffolding submerged in a fishtank illuminated by a floating strobe, with stained carpet beneath, summons up the spectre of civil decay. Here, nature is visibly damaged by artificial constructions, but is itself already man-made and mass-produced, reflecting the perils of excess. In spite of these black undercurrents, humour is evident in various distortions of scale: scaffolding inside a fishtank, a small box labelled ‘Extra Large’ and a miniature newspaper mountainscape.
Goffman’s collections could be understood as a way of filling the void, a compensation for loss or momento mori. After all, every collection is a constant reminder of the very reality it has been created to stave off. The objects she covets are talismans of an inverted conoisseurship, each piece the grave of a past desire. Many of the materials Goffman puts to use will be around long after we are gone, given their virtually indestructible, toxic qualities. In this installation, people are absent except in caricatural forms while inanimate objects testify to the folly of our endeavours. Inhabiting a blackened zone, an empty motorcycle suit hangs surrounded by an audience of cut-out faces. Elsewhere, money and ashes sit side by side on glass, as in a macabre shop display, posing an equivalence between human life and hard currency.


Saturday, July 12, 2003


Install detail I wish I were bigger 2003 Solo show at Scott Donovan Gallery, Liverpool Street
Found motorbike rider's suit, lace gown, goggles filled with sand, embroidered toilet paper, light, tissue box, candied nuts, hot glue bowls and cubes, plastic bag with orange on glass plate, found table.

Protect me from what I want found Simple shoe box

Newspaper mountain
Newspaper, water, tray

Friday, July 11, 2003

I wish

Hot glue, copper wire, sand bags, water, laser, pump

Giant woman 2003
Install detail
plastic bags, hot glue, lights

Thursday, July 10, 2003

I wish I

Install detail
Embroidered toilet paper 2003
By embellishing this throwaway material I suggest an alteration to ways of thinking.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I wish I were

Shopping bag, glass plate and an orange
Tank 2003
Plastic hot chips 2003

Monday, July 7, 2003

I wish I were bigger

Plastic bag spray painted, tree limb from outside, string, paper silhouettes

photocopied cash, spraypainted found board, found brick, tea, buttons, lights, hot glue, found carpet, paint

Friday, June 6, 2003

After you

After you 2003
Rubber band face detail and painted Vitawheat biscuit I've got love in my tummy
bubbling light fog machine
mirror, found objects, wooden fruit, tissue box, wire, paper, hot glue, paintings on canvas Someone told me I should try painting

Front Room Kitchen

Monday, March 3, 2003

Trouble in Canberra

Hotel Module 2003

Solo show at Canberra Contemporary Art space Cube
Top right Install view
Centre left detail Centre right Install view
Bottom detail DEGENERATE MATTER hot glue

What possessed me to make such a complicated installation out of town?
I wonder. The title, Hotel Module refers to a hotel room I stayed in, when I ran away from home at sixteen. I'd taken my passport and all sorts of belongings. I was a naughty and disturbed kid and this act got me into a lot of trouble (I was found). I stayed in the room devising plans to get me out of the situation I was in. There was justified anger but also a lot of false illusion. In this show I was thinking about all that past baggage I still carried around with me, and the symbols of that.

Sunday, March 2, 2003


Texter on Kleenex tissues.
Found book

Saturday, March 1, 2003

More trouble

Top Found postcard with plastic and hot glue
Centre Repetitive texter on blotting paper (site specific work)
Bottom Detail Glass beaker, water, styrofoam, light
I used a lot of different coloured detergents and liquid soaps in the show, Playing on their scents and different pearlised colours.
A factor of my shows has to do with experimenting with putting objects out into the gallery environment. I am constantly learning how to install, always trying.

Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Plastic Reality

This was made for a group show at MOP curated by Koji Riju.
It is a simulation of a real event in my bathroom where a praying mantis came and sat on a pink jellyfish hanging on the wall. It is made from hot glue, paint, string and a jelly cup container.