Martin Westwood is the Frank Martin Research Fellow in Sculpture at Central Saint Martins and a practice-based PhD researcher at Kingston University. He has exhibited widely in both the UK and abroad at artist–run, commercial and public galleries. Since the late 1990’s his work has manipulated the quotidian and vernacular objects of commercial and bureaucratic activity. From commercial transaction windows, charity donation boxes, large-scale extrusions of farfalle pasta shapes, office suspension ceilings to computer mouse-mats his work has allegorized the assemblies of material constructing value in exchange economies through sculpture, installation and pictorial works.
Current research practice explores the relationship between the external memory of technical prosthetics and temporality. Themes of anachronism, calculation, supplement and noise have been explored through a series of symposia titled ‘Headstone to Hard Drive’.
Selected solo exhibitions include: Boneus, The Approach, London (2012); Supermen made you but only superfluity will release you, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2012); These Hands Are Models, Stanley Picker Gallery (2011); Comma13 (Hysteresis), Bloomberg Space (2009), fade held, Art Now, Tate Britain (2005).
In 2009 Westwood was Stanley Picker Fellow at Kingston University and in the same year was awarded an Abbey Fellowship at The British School Rome.
Technology, economy, value, print, allograph, authenticity, image, agency, archaeology.
How does technical reproduction affect the aesthetic and interpretive economy of artifacts? How can aesthetic and hermeneutic theories accommodate media and technology themselves, as having both agency and co-authorship? These, techno-neurological questions, negotiate and delimit contemporary and historic ideas of authorship and automation, charting the impact such approaches have upon cultural practice and ‘visual’ theory.
Two approaches address ideas of authenticity and iterability. Westwood has looked at the biography of image objects, focusing on the significance of context and media. Secondly, looking at the aesthetic and ethical value of the copy, exploring the non/identity of derivative objects.
These approaches form the textual exploration of current PhD research, They Live in Value Like People Live in Gravity (Kingston University), through two image-objects. First, a stock digital photograph taken by Vittorio Celotto, of an artwork, ‘Oozewald’, by Cady Noland, itself an appropriation of Robert Jackson’s 35mm photograph of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.
The second approach focuses on a scene from Laurent Cantet’s film ‘L’Emploi du Temps’. Here, the unemployed, middle-aged executive, Vincent, fraudulently gains access to a corporate foyer through imitation of both those around him and his past self. Through close readings of these image objects a context is constructed from philosophical concerns with ontology and axiology overlapping with technical discontinuities and the fluidity of images. The texts themselves act as both examinations of the possibility of ‘writing’ these images, and performative acts of their ownership.
Westwood has been developing symposia to stage the discursive potential of these themes via archaeological analogy. ‘Headstone to Hard Drive’ is a trio of symposia occurring in 2014 and 2015 at CSM and The British School Rome, in which the archaeological stations of monument, spolia and ruin/folly are explored as technological economies of storage, circulation and prediction.