Uninformed Comment

Would you like a receipt?

Posted in Art, Humour, In the news by uninformedcomment on July 31, 2009

Monochrome Till Receipt (All White) - image courtesy of The Guardian newspaper

Monochrome Till Receipt (All White) - image courtesy of The Guardian newspaper

In recent news, the Tate Britain art gallery, self-styled “home of British art from 1500 to the present day” (which make you wonder what, say, the National Gallery is) has acquired a till receipt from Morrisons supermarket.  Why is this news?  Read on.

According to Private Eye magazine, in their Pseud’s Corner of issue 1241 (the print edition, article not available online), the receipt is for £70.32 of purchases.  The Eye entry quotes  the Tate’s curator Andrew Wilson thusly:

It’s like an imaginative leap of faith from the daily drudge of going to the supermarket to the idea of the domestic still-life painting, but also with the supposed purity of Modernist monochrome abstract painting.

The work of “art” is by artist Ceal Floyer (wacky name, wacky guy), and is entitled “Monochrome Till Receipt (All White)”; all the items listed on the receipt are coloured white, which makes all the difference, apparently.  And it’s not the first time ol’ Ceal has done something like this – he’s already flogged  a bin-bag full of air, for example.

Now, get this: the estimated price paid by the Tate is £30,000.

Having difficulty imagining what £30,000 looks like?  This is what £30,000 looks like:

BMW 3 Series Coupe

BMW 3 Series Coupe (est. price £30,000)

This article, from the esteemed organ International Supermarket News (who wouldn’t be biased at all, would they?), has some understandably anonymous contributor writing the following with a straight face:

It is modish to bash and dismiss constructional art as pretentious and stupid [yes, we’re being dead trendy here – UC], but I think it’s important to try to identify its intellectual merits and worth. Take the receipt for example. Yes you could look at it as an expression of consumerism, as a reflection of who we are and what we spend our time doing today. But there are more interiorised things going on here. The “White” consistency … [blah, blah, blah] … steers the viewer into imagining objects reduced to mathematical terms: linear and curve-linear images and angles; depth of impression and sensory registration.

For the non-mathematicians among you, in case you’re wondering, the “mathematical terms” he uses are, well, bullshit of the highest pedigree.  What, for example, is a “linear angle”?  But I digress …

It happens I’m not planning any visits to the Tate Britain gallery any time soon, and perhaps you aren’t either.  Maybe we’ll never be steered into imagining curve-linear images, which sounds like we’re missing out on a lot of fun.  Why should a national treasure like not this be accessible to all?

With this in mind, I present you with a first – an Uninformed Comment original artwork, yours for free.  Mr Floyer sold his work for over 42,562% profit – if I apply the same profit margin to my £18.77 purchase from the local Iceland supermarket, I’d be selling this work to the nation for over £8,000.  Instead, however, in a spirit of sharing, I present my own opus for absolutely no cost to you, the reader:

Iceland Till Receipt

Steered into imagining linear and curve-linear images and angles yet?

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