Born 1974, Vunapope, Kokopo, Papua New Guinea
Abjection is the premise of a precocious and entertaining body of work by Christopher Howlett. His sculptural attitude is that of a larrikin who has just ransacked a manchester shop. His methodology locates somewhere between pillow–fighting and animatronics.
It seems contentious to state, since it contradicts the kinetic clownery of his work, but Howlett is a classical sculptor. Succinctness and formal certainty are brought to bear on even his zaniest structures. He lends a standing mattress the demeanour of a caryatid, if admittedly a disorderly one. When Howlett's rude upholsteries gyrate, let alone when they crab–walk out the door, we remember the mobility that ancient carvers dreamed of bestowing on stony limbs and draperies.
Galatea steps off her pedestal, breathing.
Soft Accompaniment, whose horsy form has been marble-ised by the night sweats of numberless sleepers, hints at a fragment from the Parthenon. For this sculpture, Howlett lists his materials as 'pillow fabric, stuffing, succours and canned laughter', annexing components beyond the tangible repertoire of everyday statuary. Other works have been built from 'suspense', 'relief', 'uncertainty', 'temper tantrum' and 'silence'. In the commixture of these ingredients a category of practice, sculpture in this case, commences to dissolve.
Bruce James from the 1998 Samstag catalogue, Samstag 98 : This Thing Called Art
1998 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
1998 MA in Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London
1997 Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia