Mechelle Bounpraseuth is a Sydney-based artist who is turning the trashier moments of life into treasure. You know those snacks you make yourself, that if anyone saw you eating you would be instantly penalised 10 shame points? Or the ibis that you see necking around the city, stealing left overs and being general trash babies? Mechelle takes these tragi-comic, somewhat sad moments of everyday life and elevates, even glorifies them, with her ceramic practice.
Mechelle’s works have been shown at the likes of the National Gallery of Australia, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney. These are some serious, heavy-weight establishments. Yet with her casual, authentic Instagram presence and titles like “Life, oh life, oh liiife, oh life”, Stories from Life, Told Through the Joy of Ceramics, it’s refreshing to see an artist with such a genuine and authentic voice. Oh, and a really good sense of humour.
Using recurring motifs like discarded objects, pigeons, rubbish and sad food, Mechelle takes the discarded, empty and useless and adds value through the process of her practice. Still lifes in the form of bottles of VB, crumpled cigarettes, plastic cheese, empty packets of chips, Homebrand tuna chunks and goon sacks; they’re objects so ordinary and everyday. And it’s the examining of our relationship to these items and the elevation of these stories that’s part of what makes her re-interpretations so interesting and intriguing.
Mechelle could make a dog poo bag and we’d think it was one of the most beautiful thing we ever did see. Oh wait, she already did.
Mechelle is currently showing work at Craft Victoria in Slice of Life, a group exhibition curated by Sophia Cai examining a contemporary approach to everyday objects. Slice of Life runs until May 27.
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