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Detail showing the painted background and the squashed and damaged canisters all to represent the fractured state of the nation highlighted by Brexit
Detail showing the painted background and the squashed and damaged canisters all to represent the fractured state of the nation highlighted by Brexit
This piece was the star of my solo exhibition Laugh out Loud Nov/Dec 2019. It also shows the simple white frame fitted around the piece after mounting. This hid the heavy wooden structure beside the installation and gave an impression of floating from the wall.
Detail showing the wooden structure behind the installation at the point where the top half fits on the bottom half
These are the 6mm thick pieces of wood to install after the main work has been mounted - they create a floating effect and hide the wooden structure behind. They are 80mm wide.

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State of the Nation - No Laughing Matter
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State of the Nation - No Laughing Matter Sculpture

Derek Goldberg

United Kingdom

Sculpture, Found Objects on Wood

Size: 90.6 W x 45.3 H x 4.5 D in

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About The Artwork

This is the largest of my unique art installations using 4140 discarded, laughing gas canisters (also known as Noz and Whippets). They are glued into an acrylic painted wooden structure using certified MDF from a company with sustainable certification and a substantial frame of red mahogany hardwood. All the canisters are washed and sprayed with an anti-rust spray. This was inspired by the Brexit debate in the UK. Every one of the canisters is either squashed or damaged in some way and the red, white and blue of the flag are in 6 different shades each - this is all to represent the fractious nature of the debate and the ongoing fragility of holding together the 4 countries comprising the United Kingdom. The flag is accurately dimensioned to a standard "two and a half yard" size and is correctly handed - this is a complicated pattern and only goes one way up. The flag was inspired by a visit to the Jasper Johns exhibition in London in 2018. This is a very heavy piece and must be mounted on a solid wall. It comes in 2 sections each weighing approximately 55kg - total 110kg. It has been successfully moved between my studio and the gallery space for my Nov/Dec 2019 solo exhibition Laugh out Loud. The bottom section is mounted on a heavy batten fixed to the wall and the top section rests on the bottom section. I then have a simple white 80cm wide edging that fixes around the piece hiding the wooden structure behind, which gives the impression of a floating frame. This is not included in the dimensions. You will see a detail of this mounted in the exhibition. I would be very happy to help with the installation personally if in the UK or by Skype if outside the UK. All the canisters have been picked up my me, supportive friends and willing street cleaners from the gutters, car parks and parks of London. This art is helping the environment, reducing litter and saving these from land-fill sites and the street cleaners do not separate them for metal recycling. These canisters are used as a "legal high" and are extensively used with little regard for the medical evidence of risk to mental health. Some deaths have been directly attributed to extensive misuse. Repair kit - the canisters are glued in using Gorilla Grab glue. If not disturbed they will stay permanently in position. People are very drawn to touch and if any become loose, the hole can easily be cleaned out and the canister reglued. I will supply a few spare canisters as well.

Details & Dimensions

Multi-paneled Sculpture:Found Objects on Wood

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:90.6 W x 45.3 H x 4.5 D in

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Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

While I have dabbled in art since my early 20s, I have only now, in retirement, been able to devote myself to it passionately. I am fortunate to have found studio space in northwest London, which has helped unleash my creative potential, enabling me also to work on some large installations. I was born in Zimbabwe, moving at age 10 to Cape Town in South Africa where I lived until I moved to the UK in my mid 20s. I had an intensely creative period from 1976 until 1980, but a career in engineering combined with bringing up three children meant that I had little time or space to pursue art. In retirement I have rekindled my love affair with art and am enjoying it immensely. I would define myself essentially as an abstract artist, a colourist, with particular focus on the pop art and optical art genres. I am currently creating what, I believe, are unique installations using spent laughing gas canisters. These small steel canisters contain nitrous oxide and are used amongst young people as a recreational drug, a means of obtaining a legal high. I now have a team of canister pickers, both friends and street cleaners, who pick up canisters for me from gutters, parks and car parks. So far I have incorporated more than 20,00 canisters in my art installations which means that more than half a ton of steel has been saved from landfill. I continue to work with oil on canvas, and have recently started using acrylics on wood and handmade paper. I view abstract art from the perspective of whether it is visually pleasing to me personally, and whether I would like to see it on my wall, rather than analysing the meaning. My inspiration has come largely from early 20th century artists such as Picasso, Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, Chagall and Modigliani, and more recently from artists such as Hockney, Basquiat and Johns. I particularly admire the work of recently deceased artist Gillian Ayres RA, who made a point of only being interested in colours and shapes, rather than trying to achieve a meaning. She simply had fun painting and embraced colour in a very special way.

Artist Recognition

Artist featured in a collection

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