Lisa Watts: 'Not a decorator...'

10 Nov 2018 – 24 Nov 2018

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Performances daily: Tuesday - Saturday at the following times:


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John Hansard Gallery

England, United Kingdom


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  • Southampton Central
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John Hansard Gallery, part of the University of Southampton, is pleased to present ‘Not a decorator…’, a run of performances taking place at the gallery over two weeks.


‘Not a decorator…’ transforms domestic, DIY and gardening materials, such as kitchen towel, grease-proof paper, bin liners and bird seed into magical crafted events. Experimenting with the designed qualities of the items, she manipulates them to reveal the beauty and the spectacular in otherwise everyday domestic items.

Revealing the sublime in the mundane, Watts’ performances present alternative uses for these loaded materials – and in turn destroy the function or the job they were created for.

A roll of kitchen towel (200 sheets, 2 ply), rather than mopping up spillages and wiping mucky cheeks, becomes a thing of fragile beauty as the entire roll is unfurled and balanced on its end.

Plastic bags, washing baskets, garden trellises, tape measures, cotton wool balls, wrapping paper… are all transformed to live another life.

Over the duration of the project, the performance has revealed shifts in product composition that might normally have gone unnoticed: having discovered that only a certain brand and type of kitchen roll would stand up as she wanted, in the later stages of the project she realised that it would no longer do so - its manufacture must have been changed in the months during which the performance was developed. The sheets were floppier and failed to perform in the same way - causing a frantic search for an equivalent alternative in later performances.

‘Not a decorator…’ was first exhibited and performed at SIA Gallery (Sheffield) and Castlefield Gallery, Manchester in 2017, with Watts now showing the piece at John Hansard Gallery in November 2018. ‘Not a decorator…’ builds on Lisa Watts’ practice that spans two decades.

Reception and talk event: Thursday 15 November, 6pm – 8pm:

6pm – 6:30pm        performance / exhibition

6:30pm – 7.00pm    launch of book ‘461 Significant Moments: an Artist’s Thinking, Research  and Processes’, accompanied by a conversation with Lisa Watts, Ashleigh Armitage (Du.st Designers) and Ros Carter (John Hansard Gallery)

7:00pm – 7.30pm    performance / exhibition

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Lisa Watts


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