I think I have mentioned before that I am often teased about my penchant for over-organizing things. So when I came across an article about Kevin Harman and his “Skip” projects, I was immediately drawn in. I think there is a mandala-like quality to this work, so painstakingly arranged.
Kevin Harman, Skip 13 (2012).
(found on artnet.com: Photo by David Fernandez, courtesy of the artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh.)
Harman actually brought a rusty old dumpster to Frieze, New York (featured by Ingleby Gallery of Edinburgh). He does clean each dumpster, emptying it piece by piece and discarding all organic material. He then sorts all of the trash by material and color, and rearranges it neatly back into the dumpster.
Kevin Harman, Skip 16 (2018)
(Photo by Christopher L. Cook, courtesy of the artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh, found on Quiet Lunch)
Although Quiet Lunch rates Harman on the Worst of the Day list for Frieze, I have to disagree. I think there is beauty to be found in the symmetry of organizing. Piece by piece, layer by layer, section by section, the sedimentary layers of trash are compiled to create a satisfactory design.
Kevin Harman, Skip 2
For his “Skip” project, Harman worked in rubbish containers around Edinburgh. Sometimes he would hang around after finishing, just to see builders’ reactions when they came to work and found their garbage neatly stacked.
“Problem-solving the material into a structure and then standing back and looking at it gives me a massive sense of satisfaction…It’s like changing your room around or folding up your clothes up in your wardrobe. You know how good that feels—it’s amazing!” (Kevin Harman, from artnet.com)