paper mache, pva glue, wood trestle table
90 × 90 × 75cm
Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by Coe and Mordant Families, 2009
Charles Sofo collects, observes and displays everyday forms and materials and re-presents them as items of wonder. The obsessive nature of his practice is revealed in his accumulation of different materials, from lint to human hair. These items are transformed by the artist’s own subtle interventions with medium and appearance. Balls is an example of this obsession and its list of materials is a homage to the office supply shop: one sheet of Prisma paper, 100 Post It notes, envelopes, postage stamps, office paper, toilet rolls and cardboard. These materials are rolled into balls and placed upon a trestle table. Some of the balls accumulate vertically whilst others sit in tight small squares or rows.
Sofo’s point of reference is the modernist grid but he has turned its minimalist pretensions on its head. The grid is neither permanent, nor totally ephemeral, and the humble nature of the mediums used, the cardboard and paper ephemera of everyday life, runs counter to the hard permanence and objecthood of much minimalist sculpture.
Updated and approved August 2016.
I made balls by mulching individual units of paper in a food processor and then forming spheres in my hands. The written list is an exact inventory of the materials in the work.
Charlie Sofo, 2009
Born 1983 Melbourne, Victoria. Lives and works Melbourne.
Charles Sofo encapsulates the incidental yet essential details of the world around him, thoughtfully articulating otherwise seemingly chaotic observations through sculpture, installation and video. Sofo’s investigations of daily routines become his measure of how life is lived. Detritus and other people’s trash, such as discarded rubber bands and colourful found bookmarks, have been collected and presented to us for renewed observation, scattering possibilities like confetti. These thoughtful works often offer a quiet yet determined nudge to the viewer about the human-made environment and what it reveals about those interacting with it.
Sofo’s solo exhibitions include Set, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (2014); corn chip, mobile phone, finger print, incense stick, Craft Victoria, Melbourne (2012); I Wish I Were Smaller, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (2010); I Wander, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2010); Facts, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne (2009); and Particular Particles, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (2008). Group exhibitions include Feeling Material, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne (2015); The Small Infinite, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK (2014); Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); Volume One: MCA Collection, MCA, Sydney (2012); Tell me tell me: Australian and Korean Art 1976–2011, MCA, Sydney and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (2011); Kinmont, Patterson, Sofo, van Hout, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (2010); I’m worse at what I do best, Parramatta Artists Studios, Sydney (2009); The Ergas Collection, Gallery 9, Sydney (2008); and BloodLines – Art and the Horse, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor, NSW (2007).
Sofo’s work is held in a number of collections including Artbank, Sydney; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Faculty of Science Collection, Monash University, Melbourne.Learn more