Arcadia University Art Gallery
London-based artist Daniel Eatock (born 1975) has a practice shaped by discovery, invention, and an alert sensitivity to coincidence and contradiction. Projects such as a set of dances to accompany car alarms, an open call for snapshots depicting camera straps that resemble photo accidents, and a wiki that invites participants to add the lengths of their favorite vertical structures to a mile-long website scroll, all employ wry humor and reductive, serial logic to reorient our methods for making sense of the world.
A graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, Eatock served on the design staff of the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota) before returning to England to work with clients that include Channel Four Television and the Serpentine Gallery. His early regard for conceptual art (cultivated, in part, by his reading of Lucy Lippard’s 1973 classic Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object) has consistently biased his solutions toward the objective, the essential, and the critical without sacrificing the wit that characterizes some of the best examples within this tradition.
Eatock’s hybrid practice is unified by a generous abundance of examples and its openness to collaboration, both of which are demonstrated by the number and variety of projects posted on his website. Driven by ideas and the fluidity of language and its categories, the works are equally invested in a curiosity about the physical properties of objects and materials and the range of circumstances in which we might encounter them. Unforeseen solutions to familiar challenges (domestic storage and display, stationery, website design) join an expanding roster of more idiosyncratic, client-less efforts, such as Eatock’s ongoing attempts to draw a perfect freehand circle, sustain a helium balloon at a constant height, or carry carry a glass of seawater from the ocean to his bedside. These and other projects offer contingent forms of value and meaning amidst the chaos of the everyday.
In 2008 Princeton Architectural Press published Eatock’s monograph Imprint. This 224-page book, the first to survey Eatock’s practice to date, features nearly 1000 images from over one hundred projects from 1994 to the present. Entirely authored and designed by Eatock, the book is distinguished not only by its (deceptive) lack of apparent order but also by the fact that each individual copy in the run of 4,000 is unique. In addition to inking his own thumbprint onto the spine of every book, Eatock arranged for one of his freehand circle drawings (inscribed on a sheet of yellow A4 paper) to be inserted into the binding of each copy at random locations throughout the entire edition.
The show documented with 19 simultaneous photographs in one moment.