Emi­ly Floyd

17th – 20th February 2022
Melbourne Art Fair

Emi­ly Floyd’s solo project for Mel­bourne Art Fair is titled Sur­plus Labour. The exhi­bi­tion is named after the term used in polit­i­cal econ­o­my to describe that which pro­duces a val­ue beyond what is need­ed for the sub­sis­tence of the work­er or work­ers who per­form it. The project draws on sculp­tur­al mod­els and spec­u­la­tive propo­si­tions gen­er­at­ed as sur­plus” over two decades of pub­lic art prac­tice. Wood­en maque­ttes and full scale pro­to­types are com­bined to cre­ate an autonomous art­work explor­ing hybrid pos­si­bil­i­ties between sculp­ture and community.

Floyd’s instal­la­tion is pop­u­lat­ed by a par­lia­ment of philo­soph­i­cal owls, hand carved in wood by the artist as mod­els for a children’s read­ing pavil­ion. The word SUR­PLUS is ren­dered across sev­en mod­u­lar struc­tures upon which the owl fig­ures stand. These sculp­tures are designed to act as friend­ly way-find­ing char­ac­ters, employed towards the goal of nav­i­gat­ing a pol­i­tics of location. 

Owls ges­ture to the right, the cen­tre, cen­tre-left, cen­tre-right and hard left. One glances at their raised pin­ion and a thought bub­ble ensues, I’m wor­ried about the rise of the right wing…” A book-like stack of philo­soph­i­cal quo­ta­tions is placed next to each fig­ure, cast in Lino­type and encod­ed in reverse. Each max­im has been care­ful­ly curat­ed to help these crea­tures tran­scend their polarised pub­lic sphere. 


Emi­ly Floyd

Sur­plus Labour, 2022
(detail) instal­la­tion com­pris­ing wall-mount­ed and free­stand­ing sculp­tures, con­fig­u­ra­tion variable
alu­mini­um, wood, lino­type, steel fix­tures, two paint epoxy paint, syn­thet­ic poly­mer paint
4 x wall mount­ed sculp­tures: 7010040 cm; 3 x free­stand­ing sculp­tures on plinth: 7010050 cm; 1 x free­stand­ing sin­gle owl with speech bub­ble on plinth: 8010030 cm; var­i­ous free­stand­ing owl sculptures
Pho­to: Chris­t­ian Capurro