Benedict Hughes work is situated somewhere between the definition of art as a concept and art as a craft.
Throughout the greater part of history art works were primarily created for a purpose, be it decorative, functional or religious. The work Hughes makes is a continuing investigation into the evolving relationship between the functional and the aesthetical object, drawing from contemporary as well as traditional themes and techniques. The work on show here is an attempt to combine aspects of fine art and functional art, craft and concept, fused with components of the historical-biographical, socio-political and psycho-geographical.
Taking the modern cultural phenomena of the museum gift shop as the starting point, Hughes has created a display/shop of his own. Reclaimed and stepped, Hughes shop can be pushed around like a kind of trolley or mobile shrine. Perched at its apex is a mannequin come Madonna figure decorated with holy offerings, textiles, ceramics and etched accessories.
By re-appropriating the already re- appropriated gift shop item from a mass produced product to a handmade work of art in its own right, the intention is to raise questions on the importance of commodities and value of the art object.