Take Away is a show that is rooted in British behaviour: Inspired by market slang, Sweeney’s work finds comedy in the colloquial. Through quick observation, Take Away encourages a pause for thought on the daily interactions that we don’t always pay attention to.
Drawn from Sweeney’s impression of his home in Brixton, Take Away displays the everyday happenings, disruptions and dialogues that are both familiar and strange within the ever-changing neighbourhood. With his sculptural interpretations of pie boxes, milk cartons and ceramic fried chicken bones, local ephemera has been transformed into something more permanent, impactful and often funny.
By capturing accidental dialogues and encounters, each work acts as a different component within the broader installation that explores the theme of the market, almost parodying the very nature of the art market itself. Take Away questions the notion of value within the once sacred white walled space. At its core, Sweeney’s elevation of the throw away creates nostalgia for the present, by celebrating a very particular Brit- ish grittiness.
“London’s markets give a real, contemporary look at modern Britain, culture-wise. Unlike supermarkets, they’re a place for conversation and interaction. They may be jaded, but I think Britain thrives on melancholy – it creates humour. And in a way it’s comforting.” – Joe Sweeney
“Some of the best art work is made from junk. Or is it the other way round? Anyhow I forget… Joe Sweeney takes his chalice and dips it in the colon of Britain’s large intestine – the gutter. He holds it above his head and allows the neon lights of every takeaway sign refract and abstract through his malignant melting pot of half submerged spanenglish. For Joe, beauty at this point lies somewhere in between the kebab fat, mushy peas and Monosodium glutamate. Joe thinks to himself. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the kebab sign”. – Henry Hudson