17 – 30 AUGUST, 2020
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Our next InTheWindow sees London-based artist SOPHIE CUNNINGHAM explore the space between sculpture and fast-fashion - one of today's key societal concerns.

EMPTY BASKET is a project that exists in the margins between art and shopping. Fast-fashion products are ordered online, then transformed into sculptures that exist for a duration that reflects the retailer's return policy. These ‘Shopping Sculptures’ form grand symmetrical arrangements, often zipped or buttoned together. At the end of the return period, they are disassembled and sent back to the retailer. This mischievous strategy questions both the pursuit of online-shopping and the economics of being an artist.

Exhibited in this show is Foldaway Vinyl Mac Sculpture. The work was made by assembling several plastic waterproof coats ordered from fast-fashion online retailer Boohoo. The coats retail at £3.50 each and they are one size fits all. Foldaway Vinyl Mac Sculpture will exist for a maximum duration of 48 days, as this is the length of Boohoo’s return policy. As a sculpture, the clothing embodies a mysterious anthropomorphic form; unoccupied by human bodies, the vacant coats are offered as one monstrous figure, animated like a puppet. Subverted, these products now occupy a space in a one-time shop window, bringing the online shopping experience back to the high-street.

As well as their physical manifestation, these sculptures are also available to view online at emptybasket.org. Through the medium of an online shop, Empty Basket is configured to market these ephemeral sculptures online as banal product images, resulting in either an actual purchase or disassemblement and return to the original fast-fashion retailer. This action renders the sculpture unobtainable alongside other past-returned sculptures, communicated to the viewer through an ‘out of stock’ image. By taking the artwork away from a gallery setting and into this consumer context, the work plays on the absurdities of the commercial gallery.

Sophie Cunningham @sophie__cuningham is a London-based artist, whose work plays on the mechanisms of contemporary consumer culture, which is, more and more, sustained by the internet shopping. She is currently studying MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths, after graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2015, where she was awarded the RSA John Kinross Scholarship. Her work has been shown internationally, including the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China (2015) and she has participated in the Hospitalfield Interdisciplinary Residency (2018) in Arbroath, Scotland. Recent exhibitions include ‘Ways & Means,’ (2020) presented on virtual project space, skelf.org.uk.