Millie Burton's Home Improvements add junk show to Hove boardroom

By Mark Sheerin | 12 August 2009
A picture of sink pedestals

(Above) Millie Burton, Sink Pedestals. Pic © the artist, courtesy Commissioned by Pavilion

Exhibition: Home Improvements by Millie Burton, The Space, Hove, until September 25 2009

It's not many galleries where you might turn up to find a business meeting in progress among the exhibits. But this very scene turns out not to be performance art. An exhibition really is taking place in a boardroom.

A second visit proves to be much more conducive to a viewing. The room is unoccupied. Six impressive framed photographs adorn the white walls and an executive sponsor is only too happy to set up the short accompanying film.

A picture of disused door frames on top of each other

Doors. Pic © the artist, courtesy Commissioned by Pavilion

Home Improvements by Millie Burton is a show about junk. Her subjects include unhinged doors, disused TV sets and ripped out sink units. There's nothing substantially wrong with any of the items. It's just their owners were looking for something a little more in fashion.

A picture of disused televisions

Sun-yellowed TV. Pic © the artist, courtesy Commissioned by Pavilion

Burton's pictures were taken at a recycling centre. Her scenes appear to be chosen with an eye for formal beauty. The colours are muted, the lighting natural. Devoid of the gloss of showroom catalogue, the goods exude durability rather than desirability.

A picture of burnt out fridge

Fridge Poetry. Pic © the artist, courtesy Commissioned by Pavilion

A small crowd of sink pedestals waits in vain to be reclaimed, but their candy colours mark them out as 80s rejects. The word champagne on a peeling sticker reminds you of a long forgotten house-warming bash. Like many of the shots here, this one is both matter-of-fact and wry.

A picture of old metal sinks stacked up

Sinks With Reflection. Pic © the artist, courtesy Commissioned by Pavilion

More vacant images fade in and out of view on the five minute film. A slight breeze moves the surrounding trees but a chintzy pink lampshade and unwanted boot remain stubborn, static and conspicuous. They may well have come from one of Brighton's many renovated homes.

A picture of disused baths piled up in a garden

Baths. Pic © the artist, courtesy Commissioned by Pavilion

To put such an anti-consumerist statement into a corporate setting is a bold move, but the show is reportedly liked by the business folk who use the building. Darren Connolly, from sponsors Mentor, says the photography "seems to work well in a business environment." And the alternative, he added, was getting something in from Ikea.

The Space, Audley House, Hove Street, Hove, BN3. Admission free, email for more details.

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