My name’s Toby Ziegler. I live and work in London, and this is an exhibition I’ve made called The Alienation of Objects, at 176 Gallery in London. For some time I’ve been making sculptures that refer to historical artefacts. Usually I work from found images. Frequently they are things that I’ve never seen in the flesh, and a lot of them relate to classical sculpture that’s often been damaged over the years – things that have been eroded and fragmented. This is a show with five sculptures that were conceived as a group, and three ready-made objects. It’s an air freight container from an aeroplane. When I first started working in aluminium, I think really I’d been inspired by seeing them sitting on the runway. It was the fact that there was this object with an enormous mass, of which the sole purpose is to do with its contents, really. But you’re reminded of the fact that it’s hollow, that it is just this skin of aluminium, by the fact that it’s been bashed over the years from the inside. It has this kind of inflated quality to it, which is something, I think, it shares with the sculptures, which have a kind of pneumatic quality sometimes.
The way I work is to gradually reduce the amount of information, reduce the number of polygons that describe a form – sometimes to hack parts off, sometimes to make holes. Often you can see the inside of the sculpture, so that it kind of shatters the illusion of a solid form. And frequently there are fragments of sculpture that are connected by rods. This approach to the making forms, modelling them out of polygons, just feels like a very, very basic way of trying to describe a form. Just three points makes a polygon. It’s the simplest plane you can form.
All of the sculptures that I’ve been making recently do relate to existing objects, art objects, with their own narratives, often with several layers of narrative; and in a way, those things are very significant before I actually start making something, but they are not content, they are not meaning for the work. It’s like a kind of springboard really. I think when someone comes in to see the show, I don’t want it to be a knowledge-based experience, and I don’t think that that offers an explanation of the work. I think at the end of the day, that people have to come in and encounter these sculptures as things, and maybe there is some residue of those narratives, but really it’s about that loss of information, and about someone having to make relationships between objects or between themselves and those objects.