Connect>Create 2008

A personal response to the work of Ross Sinclair

In Duff House, Sinclair's ‘inappropriate’ attire for this setting declares his non-conforming presence and definitely defies the grand surroundings. Through identifying himself as part of a collective through wearing his tartan shorts as being Scottish and not as an individual (who would reject any external moral codes such as tradition) he paradoxically conforms to the values of the surroundings which he also subverts.


In comparison, Caspar David Friedrich, a painter associated with the German Romantic movement often included his own portrait in his landscapes, also as a figure seen from behind. This is a device that invites the viewer to look at the world through the eyes of the artist, from their perspective, how they see and understand the world around them. Friedrich’s works of this nature, contained that contradictory element, suggesting at once, a mastery over the landscape but also the insignificance of the individual within it.  A sort of ever present understanding of our subjective self, situated in an external world.


Guy Debord the French Marxist theorist quoted:


In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation”. (1)

Sinclair quotes that his work is: 

 “ A lifetime project that aims to engage a wide an audience as possible in a dialogue around the paradoxical gaps between life as it is lived by a society of individuals, and the aspirations afforded by the ‘spectacular life’ as we absorb it through mediated images of ourselves and everything around us – or in other words ourselves alone versus the world”. (2)

By Sharon Coals, student from the BA (hons) Contemporary Fine Art Course, Hull School of Art and Design 2009

(1) Guy Debord, 1967, translated, black and red 1977, Society of the spectacle, accessed November 2008

(2) South London Gallery, (no date), Ross Sinclair : Fortress Real Life.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Ferens Art Gallery, Hull | 
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