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Tissue Phenomenon references the tissue box to be found in the rear of many cars today. Especially popular with the Asian population (and in countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Japan, such tissue boxes are to be found in the majority of vehicles), these tissue boxes are often to be found in customized or branded cases from lacey or knitted tissue containers to Hello Kitty plastic tissue holders. Tissue Phenomenon features artist built and engineered self-blowing tissue boxes (see reference images). Aesthetically, Tissue Phenomenon is influenced by the work of Donald Judd. Conceptually however, these objects have an affinity with objects of Japanese Chindogu. Chindogu refers to the practice of inventing useless (or ‘unuseless’) objects. Tissue Phenomenon is not unlike a contemporary fetish object designed for the interior of cars to ward off knowledge of the statistical dangers of driving, functioning much like many accoutrements of contemporary suburbia designed to help us manage the traumatic excesses of suburban life (e.g. the robberies, stabbings, fights, child abuse and so on). It is no accident that these are tissue boxes… tissues are used to wipe up messes as well as tears! The Tissue Phenomenon is constructed of metal and spray painted in automotive paint and color. The Phenomenon includes a powered fan built in on the side. Two ‘slots’ on the top allow tissues to ‘blow’, as air is expelled by the fan through the slots.

 

 

 

British Racing Green

 

Clemens new work might best be described as flags. I mean they sure look it-these small pieces of silk fluttering vertically from a box. The key difference though is that unlike a traditional flag, with its horizontal vantage that inscribes a horizon of inclusion, these flags of Clemens are more like upstarts, more like Marilyn Monroe’s dress which billowed so indecently about her modesty. Of course that incident is less ambiguous than its burlesque manners suggest and Clemens’ own trafficking, through such a specific cultural phenomena, should be no less contradictory.

 

Tissues are systematic objects. Tissues smear loads, they carry away excess and feed off abrasions. Tissues induce pity but also nourish comfort and provide reassurance. They tend to either physical or mental wounds, transferring such moments into a remonstrative pathos that can never deny the emphasis of a snuffling scene or even pre-empt an unfortunate spill. These scenes of excess play out alongside Clemens’ tissues which utter just that one perfect moment, just that one perfect silk cut, so intent on fluttering its own superficial significance within its onerous facade.

 

Clemens' tissues are pitiful and snide. They exert a moral aggression against pretence. These accessories mime a vanity, one picture perfect with the male driven assertion of burlesque decency. If these flags have their corollary in Marilyn Monroe's suggestive beckoning, then Clemens' social context, his assertion of the phenomena is the tail end, the denouement joy of a post-sublime swallow. These are tissues for an obsolescent age. They stand out neither as the obsessive or neurotic banalities they could be, but instead exact a vindictive and mimetical replication on the very age they exist within. These tissue boxes are designed to run quite easily from the lighter sockets of the cars they spoof. This is the constancy of British Racing Green and it is far more obvious than we'd ever care to assuage. It is as though they issue a surrender that is incredulous yet benign, sympathetic and yet mocking.

 

By Harold Grieves