Produced in response to Picnic’s contextual and architectural characteristics, Podium Sales consists of an installation of painted cut-outs and hand-made flash sale signs that suggest a sport shop’s window dressing.
The exhibition is organised around two moments in the lifecycle of a commercial shop, it’s opening and it’s closing down. Depending on whether the viewer approaches the exhibition from the left or from the right, the installation gives a transition from the optimistic ‘Opening Soon’ to the pessimistic ‘Closing Down Sale’, and vice versa.
The cut-outs of sports equipment are humorously compressed and flattened. Burton is playing with the archetypal and symbolic qualities of these objects - basketballs, footballs, tennis rackets - reflecting on how they are stretched and distorted to fit many meanings: the aspirational ideals of success, perfection and competition found within sport and commerce alike. He is also transforming them into something more ambiguous, more akin to totemic sculpture with their anthropomorphic and mythical associations.
Burton is interested in the uncertainty of Picnic’s location, and it’s continually changing and precarious function. The installation acknowledges the original purpose of the window as a commercial space within the Aylesham Shopping Centre and explores the traction felt in converting these commercial units into a space for contemporary art - a shift that Peckham’s community has seen many times over in different parts of the area. Burton wants to suggest the inherent ambivalence of this relationship whilst also hinting towards Picnic’s own precarity in using the space.