Studio 4: Things, Objects and Non-Objects

Studio brief

This studio examines the reification and fetishisation of objects, how things come alive when they don’t work, the nature of non-objects and where this all might fit into public art.

Artists often make stuff only to find it doesn’t do what was intended or that no-one identifies with it. Such a lack suggests failure. But it’s when they don’t work that things may come into their own. We notice things as things, don’t take them for granted. So the artist regularly makes a “learn-from-failure device”. A relationship-improver. An evaluator. And when critical or oppositional, such art looks to the future and proves hopeful for both artist and public.

This studio relates to every medium at The Cass. Its method is that “context is half the work” – a careful, discriminatory approach to plural art-making, focusing first on what’s to be made and why – not the process.

Only then do you address process and test, take risks in the process, change your mind in the process, listen to and act on critique from your public in the process.

We study the objet d’art and consider making work that isn’t objectified. We’ll examine what psychology understands as “non-objects”. We’ll rehearse and possibly recreate, decisions in art-making during modernism’s love affair with the object and its opposites. We’ll spend time thinking about public art in workshop. We’ll devise sculptures outside which aren’t monuments, statues or landmarks. And then try to make them as a group.

Level 5 Project

In time for the Christmas show, we’ll look at Barbara Faulconer’s 88 images for a 1985 academic paper about non-objects in psychology and we’ll then attempt to render them – either as objects or as immaterial non-objects. We’ll devise a show from what we create.

A set of drawings titled Non-objects 10, 11 and 12, by Barbara Faulconer in a series of 88 images.


Course Fine Art BA (Hons)
Tutor Rosemarie McGoldrick
Bob and Roberta Smith
Where Central House, second floor studios
When Monday and Thursday

Debora Almeida
Georgia Chapman
Sripriya Clement
Fletcher Downie
Agata Florio
Bianca Fugaru
Jessica Hy
Rhiannon Jones
Adele Lazzeri
Lily Paine
Dominika Racova
Pabol Rodriguez Diaz
Gretel Warner
Constance Watkiss
Demi Witter

Alexandra Alexandrou
Shaun Burton
Kim Heywood

Fine Art