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In her practice SUSAN COLLIS deploys a kind of camouflage, a game of illusion and confusion that turns her projects into formal and conceptual re-workings of the idea of trompe-l’oeil. First impressions would make us think we are looking at the remnants of a dismantled exhibition; wall plugs, bent screws, broken pieces of wood with nails sticking out of them that are covered in paint and ridden with woodworm, dirty floors and walls, stained bits of cloth, etc. Upon closer inspection we find the plugs are made from coral or turquoise, the screws and nails are made of gold or platinum, the drips of paint are in fact mother-of-pearl, the worm-holes are small gems, the blue paint on a timber frame turns out to be incrusted lapis lazuli, and the stains on the cloth are delicately embroidered.
For the execution of these works the artist makes use of a variety of techniques and investigative strategies that question aspects of perception, value, and craftsmanship. COLLIS carries out an inverse archaeological exercise, a false process of aging. But this apparent accidental nature is the fruit of a slow and meticulous process. COLLIS is interested in how our perception of value changes as we discover that these are carefully elaborated, intentional, and that the materials that we mistook for common and valueless are in fact economically and decoratively precious.