|7.5 × 7.5 × 10.5 cm
Take me I’m yours, 1998
Take me I’m yours, sealed steel cans with varying contents.
This piece owes much to Piero Manzoni’s ‘Merda d’artista’ (Artist’s Shit) of 1961, and Andy Warhol’s soup cans. The piece was conceived when Hodway’s discovered a pick and mix sweet shop that had the facility to seal a personally selected assortment of confectionary in a commercial grade can.
The cans display another translation of the Icon on the front, one that seeks to make them less imposing and more attractive to consumers. Instead of clearly identifying the contents on the label as Manzoni’s did, the contents themselves are [mostly] irrelevant. Only the label – which declares the object to be art matters. Whatever the can’s former function was, its roll has now been replaced by one with higher cultural capital.
The piece explores the artist’s discomfort with the ubiquity of hype, and marketing being more important that the actual integrity of the item that is being sold. This phenomena has been integral to the art world for centuries, but was becoming particularly prevalent in the late 90s when this piece was first exhibited.
All identically labelled, and weighing the same 400 grams, 200 of the cans mundanely contain baked beans, from a value brand. 20 cans, identical in weight and appearance, contain an unusual assortment of found objects, from Action Man heads to pieces of shoe that have been and selected by Hodway for their character and uniqueness. The contents of the unique cans are suspended in water to maintain a uniform weight and consistency with the other cans. All of the cans were given away free to visitors to the exhibition at Howard Gardens Gallery in which they were exhibited in 1998. The title of the piece , and the idea of giving away work free, is taken from an exhibition of the same name at the Serpantine Gallery in London that Hodway visited in 1995.