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The Birth and Death of Meaning in Clingfilm

The Birth and Death of Meaning in Clingfilm

Paper and cling-film, 2015


Courtesy the artist

For Jonathan Callan, working with books is a formal exploration. "I (...) regard books in the same way a potter might regard clay". This work consists of a book with a portentous title wrapped in layers and layers of cling film, a very basic and domestic material (though technologically quite advanced). The fastidious process of wrapping has resulted in a slight alteration of the primary form of the book; with its profiled edges, the resulting object has a minimalist quality. It also evokes ideas of censorship and repression. The book is now forbidden, perhaps banned by a mighty authority.

Jonathan Callan

Jonathan Callan's work is driven by a fascination with materiality. Often accumulative in process, the works confront the endless interiority of objects. Preoccupied with language and its limitations, Callan often works with text - books, maps or photographs - as a source material. No longer a secondhand carrier of information, text is turned into an object of first experience. His methodology consists of amplifying the physical aspects of the object by embedding or dissolving until the original form is barely identifiable. Through this sometimes violent, often obsessive process, Callan develops a system of inquiry, which both drives the work and generates meaning.

His work is included in numerous private collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The British Museum, London, The Henry Moore Institute, South London Gallery, London, and Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.