Angela Eames/story 1

Home Link to research section Link to sales

Stories written in relation to earlier works

A smile on the surface of matter

From CRYSTAL to PLASTIC
She was not at all sure about plastic cups. She was not sure whether she liked them at all. She was not even sure that they served a useful purpose regardless of aesthetic criteria. Whenever she served herself from one of those garish monoliths in the canteen, she would have to gingerly place the cup of steaming liquid onto a flat surface as soon as possible, for fear of burning her fingers. There were of course more sophisticated versions which were manufactured from polystyrene. These lessened this particular problem but - polystyrene. Whether plastic or polystyrene there was still a secondary dilemma - what exactly was the liquid in the cup? She might have thought that she had pressed the button for tea, with milk, no sugar but she just couldn't be quite sure until she tasted it - and even then. However this was straying from the point, the quality of the particular brand of powdered tea was for another debate. She had never been too fastidious in her demands for liquid refreshment but her mind was cast back to afternoons at her Great Aunt Winifred's house and tea-time. Drinking tea from china cups, with their saucers - maybe there was something to it after all. It seemed to her that epochs of time and consideration had gone into the design of so many drinking vessels Pewter beer mugs, porcelain teacups and crystal glasses - they were all so particular and so suited to their function. There was pleasure to be gained from gazing into a crystal goblet of deep, dark, blood-red wine or holding a pale, shimmering, white wine up to the light. Perhaps this was a form of visual indulgence but why not? In the candour of crystal, there seemed to be a reverence for nature, whilst the indifference of plastic appeared to sanction monotony. It was November and she was asked to make a small image for a gallery exhibition based around the theme of homage to an artist. Who did she want to pay homage to? There was a drawing she thought, Perspective Study of a Chalice by Paolo Uccello in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Now there's a drawing, she thought. In fact it was probably the first wire frame drawing and when was it made - 1460! Wireframe is a term currently used to describe linear constructions of three dimensional, solid-modelled objects, generated within the computing environment. She made a drawing of a plastic cup for the exhibition - a contemporary object, an object of now - but she hankered after using a crystal glass. She contemplated liquids - blood, wine, water, milk and oil, each having a different viscosity, colour and texture.
She thought about bodily fluids. Poured into a glass she would be able to relish their particularities but poured into a plastic cup - well...!
A new work came about. Four crystal glasses and four plastic cups. She thought it over. No. Four crystal glasses and one plastic cup.
After all when you've seen one plastic cup - you've seen them all.


Version 1

A smile on the surface of matter - 2D version
digitally printed, mounted and laminated
each 48insx36ins
Copyright © 2004 A Eames

Version 2

A smile on the surface of matter - 3D version
digitally printed, mounted and laminated
each 48insx36ins
Copyright © 2004 A Eames

Story 2 Back Send email