Sketch_Box No.11. © C J Hollins 2012. All Rights Reserved. 

© C J Hollins 2012 All rights reserved. Collection. Rudd Holdings

© C J Hollins 2012 All rights reserved. Collection of the Artist



Missing Art Object. Box No.1. Enamel Paint on Wood.

1270mm x 730mm 2012.







ORBS is an acronym for Object Recognition Breakdown Syndrome. This condition of the human mind is 'felt' when we are faced with an experience of an object or an event towards which we are unable to project any ideas that we use to identify what confronts us. In art the syndrome is generated by the exhibiting of a found object or the performance of bizarre or ludicrous acts that remove our ideas of art from the work. However, the principle of ORBS extends beyond art and applies to any object that we find difficult to recognise. Object Recognition Breakdown Syndrome forces our mind to sense the external world without the imposition of established ideas, and the sensation this creates within our powers of observation generates a feeling of uncertainty. The human mind actively seeks to avoid this condition in all we see and do. It has become habitual behaviour for us to seek to find something we know how to recognise in what we experience to stop ORBS being sensed in our view of the world. This behaviour reveals that any object or event that we fail, or find difficult to recognise, exposes us to an underlying way of sensing that our powers of perception have evolved to suppress in our minds. The underlying way of sensing will be inherent from our primal origins and will still be generated in the depth of our minds in the form of any genetic expressions that remain of our old animal instincts, but our thought processes now block-out these sensations by forcing us to look through our intelligent powers of recognition.

Sketch_ Box No.15. © C J Hollins 2012. All Rights Reserved.

 Sketch_Box No.9. © C J Hollins 2012. All Rights Reserved.


Missing Art Object. Box No 7. Enamel on Wood.

1200mm x 630mm 2012

Pencil Sketches of proposed containers for missing art objects.

In order to create a primal sensation of an object I need to find a way to remove all the intelligent ideas you project over what you see. If I just painted a picture of an object you would recognise the image that I portray, and you will also project an idea that allows you to recognise my work as a painting. Painting an image, or just using runs and dribbles of paint, or even minimal work is not, therefore, going to create a primal sensation from the depth of your mind.

Creating sculpture, music and dance will fail for the same reason. You possess well-established ideas that will suppress the primal experience of these objects in your mind. You will look to recognise an arrangement of control and organisation that the artist has given to the work. If I present a ready-made object as art (a urinal, a dead shark, or whatever) this will remove your idea of artistic workmanship (anyone could place a ready-made in an art gallery) but doing this will not disturb the intelligent ideas you possess that you use everyday to recognise ready-made objects. To get an object to generate a primal sensation from your mind I need to find a way to stop you projecting all these established ideas that you have learned to impose over your view of what confronts you.

To try to do this I have created empty boxes. These boxes are not the art objects but only containers that would, if the objects were in them, store the works. The works are missing and I try to make the shapes unrecognisable so that you will find yourself with no idea to apply to what these art objects looked like. You cannot give them any form of recognition through your powers of intelligence and so, hopefully, you will be forced to think about the missing objects in an intuitive and instinctive way.


This is not an ideal solution but, at this present time, whilst I can stop you placing an established idea over the art object I cannot think of a way to stop you recognising the boxes themselves. These works are an improvement upon the concept of the ready-made because the problem with any ready-made is that you hold well established ideas to give recognition to what you see. I have, at least denied you this path that would allow you to suppress the primal sensation of a (missing) art object. However, I am still faced with finding a way to stop you recognising the storage devices. Until I find a way to do this a true artistic experience, generated in your mind by your animal sense of instinct, will be suppressed because you will call up an idea to give recognition to the box. The idea of a box will, therefore, help you ignore the primal sensation that I want you to encounter in the presence of my works. I am searching for a way to stop you using any intelligent ideas about what confronts you, so that you will look in an original and inherent way at an object. I have, as yet, been unable to do this.


I have been exploring this concept most of my life because I believe we have evolved a state of mind that works all the time to stop us sensing in an old primal way that must have revealed our surroundings to our ancestors as a direct sensation. We still inherit this view but we all learn to suppress it from a very early age. We seem to have evolved into creatures who have 'forgotten' how to look at objects and events as they could be seen if we could stop our intelligence suppressing our old direct powers of observation.  


If I could solve this problem then my work would create an object that would remain outside of your intelligent ability to recognise what confronts you. You would be faced with an object you would possess no intelligent way to recognise and, therefore, you would be forced to sense what you see through your old inherent powers of instinct. I believe it is this experience that modern art arose to try to explore. 


Note about the Pencil Sketches.


These sketches are of works being made as part of the missing art object series. As you can see I am trying to shift away from the idea of a box but, no matter what I try, my mind keeps searching for a recognisable image. I find it almost impossible to sketch, or make, an object my intelligence simply cannot recognise. These are beginning to look like moulds for casting instead of empty boxes, and this power of recognition keeps creeping into everything I see and do. I seem unable to get a glimpse of an object my intelligence is unable to project any idea of recognition over. I have tried autonomous drawing but the problem with this approach is that it creates an image that we label as an abstract. This vague idea is enough to stop you sensing the finished drawing without an idea., For the same reason, geometric shapes, organic forms and all manner of other things fail to create an object that defies recognition. I find that our intelligence has evolved a vast library of ideas to impose over everything we do to stop us sensing in a primal inherent way.


Whilst it seems possible to remove our established ideas of art from an object (this is what the first ready-made originally did before the art world adjusted its values to call a ready-made a work of art) it seems far more difficult to stop intelligence imposing 'learned' ideas that impose our powers of recognition over what we see. I want to create objects you can only sense through your powers of instinct but, no-matter what I do I find my mind will not allow me to sense an object in an intuitive primal way. We seem to have evolved to stop this experience of any given object or event from entering our powers of perception. People look to impose an idea of recognition over what you show them to stop this primal sensation entering their mind. If I could find a way to make an object that intelligence cannot recognise, this would confront the viewer with an experience of their primal state of mind generated by their old inherent powers of instinct. This is what I try to achieve but it seems to be an undertaking that is out of reach of our intelligent powers of observation.

Back to making empty boxes.....

In Progress....