Please excuse the crudity of this model


One of my favourite parts of Back to the Future I is when Doc shows Marty a model that he has made of Hill Valley to illustrate how the lightening will power the DeLoreon and says ‘Please excuse the crudity of this model, I didn’t have time to build it to scale or to paint it.’ And obviously the model is perfectly detailed and looks as real as cardboard boxes all painted a uniform grey could be.

I can’t say that it started here, but this sleight of eye, if there’s such a phrase, when you are confronted with the perfect knowledge that something is not real, while simultaneously completely recognising the thing that you are looking at it is, is why I love models of all kinds. In my list of favourite models, I will include Thomas Demand’s large scale photographs of rooms made out of card, doll houses with three inch wall to wall carpeting, Pierre Huyghe’s ‘This is not a time for Dreaming,’ Chema Madoz’s conjoined objects, the set for Rhinoceros by Anthony Ward, and the word ‘husk’.

It might also explain why a lot of my work plays with scale and optical illusions, or why I am interested in describing the flatness or the appearance of things.  I can think of other ideas that connnect my drawings and objects such as routines and patterns, and how we connect to the space and sites around us, and this is what I usually talk about when asked. But maybe this means I miss the most important part. Maybe first, it’s that I like making models. And if I didn’t, I would be a different sort of artist and I would make a different sort of thing, and in that case it would be about a different set of connections too.

This is a model for the sketchbook that I’m sending to the Brooklyn Art Library as part of the Sketchbook Project. The sketchbook is based on a house but it’s a nonsense house from my head with floor plans from three different places, and corridors without any stairs and alongside surreal interior design layouts and collages using home assembly manuals, I’ve inserted photographs of works that I’ve made using domestic objects. The model of the sketchbook is 75mm by 52mm and is 18mm thick.  It’s also not to scale but it does include a miniature copy of everything that I’m going to include in the life size sketchbook, stuck together using small pieces of double sided sticky tape and paper clips.