| tom putman | society | wilding

Hi Tom! Would you like to give a short intro about yourself / your practice?

My name is Tom Putman (1994), I studied BA Fine Art in Sculpture at AKI ArtEZ in Enschede, the Netherlands. I currently live and work in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

While studying, decomposing and reforming objects from daily life, I create sculptures by merging different elements that are inspired by mass production and medieval craftsmanship. I construct sculptural objects by applying a wide range of techniques, from designing elements to manufacturing them using digital techniques such as laser cutting, CNC milling and 3D printing.

Your works seem to express a disrupted equipmentality; familiar at first glance, but removed from their daily moment. Likewise, contemporary objects bear motifs from the Middle Ages. These seem like artifacts from an impossible era when displayed in the timeless plane of the white cube. Do you feel a shift in the works between the gallery and the offsite? How does the setting change the meaning of the work for you?

Yes, I believe that artworks can have multiple meanings. In an off site space other than a white cube the ‘visual noise’ helps to evoke other interpretations and associations. I prefer to create installations that are site specific. So I enjoyed this show immensely. This off site show gave a lot of room for freedom and experimentation.

The great thing I experience about "Wilding" and "Solo Show" itself is that it all comes from the need and urge to make a good show and have good documentation as the main goal. Something that I experience as very pure. The result is not influenced and limited by society, the art world and the commercial purpose.

“Wilding” made me think of the film “Into The Wild”. A film based on the true story of a young man who isolates himself from society, rid himself of his possessions and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness looking for ultimate freedom. The title “Society" refers to the the song "Society" in this film. The lyrics are a critical comment on today's society. The greed and the urge for always wanting more.

One thing that draws me to your work is a particular sense of magical-realism. The familiar is unveiled as something unfamiliar, and in doing so, a new understanding or network of ideas, a narrative seems to take its place. What is your relationship between narrative and your work?

These objects might look familiar at first, but I invite people to take a closer look and be open for the unfamiliar. In my work, elements of mass production and craftsmanship are brought together as an attempt to activate the viewer’s imagination and question their everyday associations and create their own narrative.

Finally, I'm curious about the site you chose for the offsite, was there anything in particular that attracted you to the space?

My studio is located in this old train shed from 1891. The main reason was that I wanted to build the show somewhere where it was only possible temporarily, something that would not be possible in a few years. The building will most likely be completely renovated, causing that the rails and entire charisma of this space will disappear. At the same time, the documentation of this show also serves as a memento for me of the time I was able to work here.