691: Celebrity Tea – Dunked, Drunk & Dumped

teabags, found magazine photographs, cotton thread & net curtain
100 x 100 cm
Installed at The Gallery HAC, Harrow Arts Centre 2012

‘Celebrity Tea: Dunked, Drunk & Dumped’ addresses Ann Kopka’s engagement with the research, process and transformation of discarded everyday ephemera and disposable objects of little or no intrinsic value. Through the concept of ‘making something out of nothing’ Ann seeks to draw attention to the throwaway nature of consumer society and question our perception of its value systems. ‘Celebrity Tea’ is a wall hanging made from teabags, found papers, cotton thread and net curtain.

Each tea bag acts as a repository for a small photograph of a ‘celebrity’ cut from magazines found lying around on tube trains. Famous for something or other over for a limited period of time the ‘celebrity’ represents yet another commodity in our throw away consumer society, precious for a few moments then dumped like a teabag.

The repetition and uniformity of these images lends them an air of anonymity and results in a loss of individual identity. Some of the images you may recognise, some are unclear and some have faded from our view, dissolved into nothing, just as ‘celebrities’ fade quickly from our collective memories.

Ann found the process of stitching to be a contemplative and nostalgic activity, with connotations of femininity, domesticity and home. The fragile teabag papers were prone to splitting and tearing, and the sewing became a constant act of mending and preserving, mirroring the way the plastic masks of celebrity are mended and preserved to hold back time.

Stitched to a net curtain to add stability, the grid like formation of ‘Celebrity Tea’ and the uniformity of the tea bags create a pattern reminiscent of wallpaper or a decorative quilt. The net curtain itself conjures up notions of privacy, concealment and hidden suburban lives as it filters the light and obscures the ‘celebrity’ faces waiting to be dunked, drunk and dumped.