press release

Cockshut Dummy is a cumulative - and still ongoing – artwork that Carol Szymanski has been making this year on a daily basis whenever she is at her job as a banker in London; a series of texts and images (mostly taken with the simple camera of her mobile phone) and transmitted by e-mail every evening at the end of her working day.

The ongoing series has an underlying thematic structure based on Roget’s Thesaurus, starting from Existence and working its way through Relation, Quantity and so on to cover, in principle, all the categories of human understanding (the title Cockshut Dummy derives from thesaurus entries for Evening and Standard, a reference to a London newspaper.) The imagistic and textual content customizing around these categories range through observations of business, politics, the art world and everyday life – glimpses of the personalities of coworkers, a speaker’s gaffe at an opening dinner for Cy Twombly, enraged Iraqis burning their new US-imposed flag, or a mysterious woman glimpsed crossing London Bridge.

In the tradition of On Kawara’s telegrams and Alighiero Boetti’s mail works but using the communication systems of the present – cell phones and email – Cockshut Dummy seeks to expose a poetic sense of reality through an intervention into technocratic time and sense. For Cockshut Dummy’s first incarnation in a gallery context, Szymanski has embodied the play of image and text in the emails in various forms, notably a group of “tombstones”, lucite blocks used by bankers to commemorate the completion of a deal. Other works include photography, a wall text and paintings. With its surprising leaps of scale, mood, topic and medium, Cockshut Dummy embodies the restlessly various scope of thought and perception.

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Carol Szymanski
Cockshut Dummy / Abstract relations