Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin, Fruit and Other Things, 2018. Interactive project commissioned for the 57th Carnegie International. Photo: Tom Little

Passing Through Hands: A Conversation with Lenka Clayton

Lenka Clayton’s work is a network of connections based in the narrative and poetic potential embodied in objects. Each of her dynamic projects offers a tangible link to stories and geographic locations. She connects communities and individuals while offering a bit of magic, which can often be found in the smallest places. Her process seems to be about compassionate objects that are gathered, connected, and then deployed. For Clayton, it’s about feeling a closeness to objects and sharing that feeling with others through the eyes of wonder. Her work is often collaborative, with willing (and sometimes unwitting) participants. The results always vary, but what connects Clayton’s projects is their ability to ignite the senses and reinforce the bonds that we all share. Some stories are just waiting to be continued, and objects offer histories that can be uncovered and told again, gaining momentum by passing through the hands of an artist.

Joshua Reiman: Do you know when objects become art for you?
Lenka Clayton: When objects become art is a really interesting and quite a moveable boundary, which my work often directly considers. There is a glass case in my studio full of objects that I have a feeling might become part of my work, but I’m not yet sure exactly how. It is a holding zone for things in between art and not art. Inside, for example, are props for magic tricks to which the instructions have been lost. They are objects with a very specific and extraordinary implied future use, but at the exact same time, they are just a tangled piece of string and a dented red ball . . .

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