Work: Matthew 12:12 Cup
Size: Small - 420mm x 290mm x 190mm Large - 520mm x 400mm x 270mm
Matthew 12:12 Cup 2011 is an exhibition by sculptor Gregor Kregar featuring a collection of new porcelain sheep in national rugby jerseys, set to coincide with the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Kregar continues his practice of displacing and disrupting the everyday to allow new and unexpected meanings to emerge. For this New Zealand based artist, nothing is quite as ubiquitous as sheep. They are a national icon, an economic mainstay and an unmistakable feature of the livestock landscape.
Kregar has previously investigated the role or sheep in society in his Matthew 12:12 projects where he dressed 12 live sheep in hand knitted woollen jumpers and placed them in white picket enclosures outside the Wellington and Christchurch City Art Galleries. Presenting this rural animal in such unlikely surrounding, urban audiences were confronted as to their assumptions of the ‘indistinguishable flock’ and to consider religious symbolism relating to sheep’s historical depiction and the number presented. But when transformed in porcelain and painted in highly saturated colours, they seem more at home in a tourist shop than in a pastoral setting. They ooze kitsch. Their sheer multiplicity further fractures their meaning, almost reducing them to trinkets.
However, these aesthetically invisible animals are invigorated by their splashes of colours, drawing them out from under their often missed white palate. We are forced to look at the overlooked. And they are disturbing –one cannot help but feel discomfited by the confronting gaze of a flock of ceramic sheep. Behind their playfulness lies an unsettling swell of the uncanny. By elevating sheep to artistic subject, Kregar wreaks havoc with our conceptions of the ridiculous and the sublime.