WITH AN AFFINITY FOR MARCEL DUCHAMP, Artist Chad Wys creates his own series of Readymades, in which existing decorative objects are re-contextualized with somewhat destructive marks. The endeavor springs from an assertion that in the age of the internet, even more so than in the industrial revolution, reproduction is incredibly prolific. By manipulating these reproductions and placing them in new contexts, the artist aims to underscore how "our possessions often manipulate us." Our objects and images, after all, are in many ways a measure of worth.
Appearing to have been quickly poured, sprayed or scribbled on, the works look destroyed or vandalized, although this destruction is only meant to be secondary to the overall aesthetic. What Wys intends to propose is the experience of a new meaning from the reclaimed object or image. "What does the creation of new meaning tell us about old meaning, or meaning in general?" In Duchamp's version, the choosing, repositioning, titling and signing of objects turn them into art. In Wys's version, appropriation too helps him treat the culture he critiques, but his main concern is on reproduction, and the experiences that take place under different users and contexts.
Beyond the Readymades, Wys's re-contextualization of objects and images carries on through his other series. Images from the Works on Paper and Nocturne series all employ physical or digital manipulation, and in their new contexts, have gone on to be further re-contextualized as prints on clothing, homeware, promotional posters, album and book covers.
"What does the creation of new meaning tell us about old meaning, or meaning in general?" Perhaps it demonstrates the lack of worth of things; too easily reproduced and too lacking in fundamental meaning. If worth and meaning can be manipulated, who decides worth and meaning?
Readymades by Chad Wys, chadwys.com