HALF A MO 1993
Richard Wentworth (1947 – )
- DIAMETER 45.5 CM
- STAINLESS STEEL MEASURING JUG AND TAPE
- Accession number
When is an edition a multiple? If I use up an entire roll of film on a single shot, what is one of the 36 resulting pictures? What is it to make more than one print from a single negative? How are they different? Questions of reproduction, identicalness, sameness, distribution, availability and cost vs price are all issues. Half a Mo was a response to a proposal by the Serpentine at the time of my show there in 1993/4. They try to emphasise the popular aspect of their site in the middle of a park and to popularise shows, with prints, photographs, even T-shirts – promotional work. Spotting a small work in my studio it was suggested to make a couple of dozen. The nature of Half a Mo is that no two would be the same, they’d be a family, but once they left the studio one could seldom be compared to another. Compare Picasso’s Glass of Absinthewhere he painted six bronzes all differently. There was however no escaping the repetitious labour involved in making so many of the same things. The noble idea was to set a low price to make it available to those who could only afford a small work of mine… in the event a price was published so disarmingly low that they were all sold in 24 hours and mostly to collectors… The pieces themselves were produced in Berlin where I was living and were not available until a year had passed! There is an object lesson here in the economies of production related to the very real dynamics of retailing and production.
The collision of two systems of measurement in Half a Morenders both impotent – the measuring jug is unable to stand up and the narrative of the tape is searching for a job to do.
ps Is a newspaper a multiple?
Multiplication, The British Council 2001