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Mass Destruction

Installation view - Collective Gallery, Edinburgh - 2002 
format: gas cooker, gas canister, candle, fire

Mass Destruction (2002/2013) creates a tension between the materiality of mass-produced utilitarian objects and the function these objects were originally intended for.  The installation consists of a burning candle and an old gas cooker attached to a full gas canister. Subverting the notion of the sanctity of the public art space, Mass Destruction offers both the art lover and the random visitor the opportunity and capability to turn on a switch and obliterate the gallery. 

The installation was originally exhibited at the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, as part of New Work Scotland, Programme 9 in 2002 and at Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast in 2013.


"Doherty’s aesthetic is one of suggestion and subtle manipulation.  A moment is underlined, an object is tweaked and reality is questioned. And usually that reality is dangerous. In pieces such as ‘Mass Destruction’, 2002, he placed a cooker attached to gas canister in the Colllective Galllery, Edinburgh. The gas was switched on and a lit candle was placed at the other end of the gallery. These suggestive, simple but dangerous installations continue some of the later minimalists concern with action and the physical involvement of the viewer. The theatrical element supposedly invoked by minimal sculptures (which act as blank sets and empty stages) is emphasised, but this time the everyday object is attacked." - 'Maurice Doherty - The Art Of Memory' - Alexander Kennedy - The List, Scotland.

Mass Destruction Doherty
     

Mass Destruction

Installation view - Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast - 2013 
format:gas cooker, gas canister, candle, fire

"Maurice Doherty works with the same question. He   installed an old cooker connected to  a full gas cylinder,  and  placed a burning candle  not far from it. . Turning on the switch would obliterate the installation, and possibly the gallery. Mass Destruction   was shown first  in 2002 .  Nobody used the switch. An  open oven insinuates suicidal act be it for an individual or a whole  culture… Its call for a rational decision  is mandatory – luckily it is not all. The significance shifts into the distance between the real and pretended,  into the gap between art and life. The play with the imagined choice  turns out to be spontaneously accompanied by a smile."  
Psychic Driving - Slavka Sverakova

The following quote by the theatrical absurdist, Eugene Lonesco was offered to Maurice Doherty, as a potentially useful way of shedding some flickering illumination on his practice:
John Beagles 

"To discover the fundamental problem common to mankind. I must ask myself what my fundamental problem is, what my most ineradicable fear is. I am certain then to find the problems and fears of literally everyone. That is the true road into my darkness, our darkness, which I try to bring to the light of day...A work of art is the expression of an incommunicable reality that one tries to communicate - and which sometimes can be communicated. That is its paradox and its truth."
Eugene Lonesco 





   
         
 
   
 
 
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