Who is she?

Ceal Floyer, ‘Etching (at 45 rpm)’ 2000
Ceal Floyer
Etching (at 45 rpm) 2000
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© Ceal Floyer, courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

Meet Ceal Floyer. She was born in Pakistan, but moved to Britain. She currently lives and works in Berlin. She uses lots of different everyday objects as her inspiration to make art. This includes receipts, curtains and light switches, as you'll find out in a little while.

There's something very special about this style of art. If you’re not very good at painting or drawing, Ceal Floyer is proof you don’t have to be good at either to be an artist.

What is her art like?

Ceal Floyer Monochrome Till Receipt (White) 1999

Ceal Floyer
Monochrome Till Receipt (White) 1999
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© Ceal Floyer, courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

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We could describe Floyer as a modern artist. She doesn’t paint or sketch. Instead, she makes everyday objects into art. The art she makes is really playful and fun.

Take a look at Monochrome Till Receipt (White). It’s a receipt from Morrisons and believe it or not it’s an artwork! When you look at the receipt it looks like any normal receipt. Does this mean any of the receipts your parents get at the supermarket are art? The answer is most likely no. If you look really closely at the receipt, you’ll see that all the purchases are things that are white. There’s flour, sugar, milk and white chocolate. In total, there are forty-nine items on the list. Imagine a shopping trolley filled entirely with white things.

Why is this art?

Ceal Floyer, ‘Light Switch’ 1992–9
Ceal Floyer
Light Switch 1992–9
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© Ceal Floyer, courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

You might not know it, but there is a difference between Floyer’s receipt and your parents’ receipts. While your parents are just doing their shopping, Floyer is doing something creative by only choosing white items. Shopping is not usually art, but Floyer has made it art by thinking creatively.

Let’s look at another example of her work. Light Switch uses a projector to show a light switch on the wall. It’s usually positioned where a light switch would normally be. This is quite fun. Think of it like a practical joke. When you go to turn the light on, there’s no switch - just a projection. The projection is using light to make this happen. That means the light switch is actually made of light. If you think about that for a moment, that’s really strange.

So it’s about making me think?

Double Act, Ceal Foyer

Ceal Floyer
Double Act 2006
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© Ceal Floyer, courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

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Yes, Floyer wants you think about these everyday objects and why she might be using them for her art. Her artwork Double Act is a really good example. It’s a projection of a red curtain, like the one you might see in a theatre or a cinema. When you see these curtains in real life, they are hiding the show that you are waiting to see. In Floyer’s work, the curtain does not move. The show that are you waiting for doesn’t come. The curtain IS the show!

What’s similar between the curtain, the light switch and the receipt? Well, these are all things that you usually don’t pay much attention to. The receipt is not as important as the shopping. The light switch is just the way to turn on the light. The curtain is only making you wait to see the show. Floyer is making you think about all these everyday things in a fun way.

Ceal Floyer, ‘Double Act’ 2006
Ceal Floyer
Double Act 2006
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© Ceal Floyer, courtesy Lisson Gallery, London

You might also find a message or meaning in these artworks, but the fun is in finding these out for yourself. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just about what you think is important about the artwork. For example, you could ask why Floyer chose all white objects for her receipt. Why did she not pick blue items, or red items?