Thursday, 18 August 2011


Artist: Sonny J. Barker

Title: Receptacles | Vessel | Eulogise

Year: 2011

Medium: Two Pairs of Canvas Gym-Shoes, Pieces of Found Wood, Glass


This installation aims to show the correlation between items of attire and the life cycle of the wearer through the frail process of wearing out a pair of shoes. We are born, we live and we eventually succumb to death. When we buy a pair of shoes we give them life, we then live through them and then they are discarded.

Shoes contain our D.N.A. in that the wearer’s sweat, skin and impressions of the feet are contained within. Unlike clothing where these human by-products are so masterfully laundered away, shoes become transitory self-portraits.

I have bought two pairs of canvas gym-shoes and kept one pair sealed and the other I have worn constantly for two months. These shoes have been worn to festivals, meetings and other social functions I have also documented them using digital photography.

Taxidermy was an influence in the way that I have decided to eulogise these pairs of shoes. I am interested in how certain owners of domesticated animals and birds have their beloved companions stuffed and then displayed to memorialise their passing.

These shoes are now elevated from being two pairs of unworn and worn-out items of attire to the status of loved ones. They are slices of my life that have had an abrupt end and now are to be considered as self-portraits sealed in metaphysical aspic.

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