Akeroyd Collection


Kawita Vatanajyankur, The Spade , 2020

The Spade comes from Vatanajyankur's Field Work series which gives visual expression to the artist's extensive research into modern agriculture. The series showcases the familiar visual languages media and advertising - language that taps into human desire and consumer psychology – while simultaneously revealing the true cost of instant gratification and mass production. Within white, gallery-cum-laboratory type environments, the struggles of human labour are on full display in this series of performance videos. Vatanajyankur’s body, in The Spade, is transformed into an articulating digging implement. As a human shovel, the artist lies face down on a supporting platform, held up by a single post in the middle. This suspends the artist above a sand pit, and as the fulcrum of the device, located at the artist's pelvis, allows her to swing forward to the ground, her hands scoop sand and violently discards it backwards. This action forces the artist to swing to the other side where the discarded sand, mid-flight, hits her lowering legs. Rather than discard the soil economically, much of it is retained and falls back into the pit that the artist is seemingly trying to excavate. These are works full of toil, failure, pathos, and struggle. The work gets done but as the cold machinery is replaced with a living body, we are left wondering at what cost. A question perhaps neglected in contemporary analysis of consumer economics.

MediumUHD Video, Single-channel
Duration8 minutes 19 seconds
Editionof 4