Shopping Lists (19) 2021


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Shopping Lists (19)

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acrylic on ceramic

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Commissioned by the City of Melbourne, 2021
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
© Courtesy of the artist


Kenny Pittock, shopping lists, 2021, ceramic, From Mundane to Friday


Kenny Pittock is a Melbourne-based artist who often creates ceramic replicas of temporary objects, giving a permanent record to fleeting moments. This particular artwork is from a series titled 'Shopping Lists' in which the artist created a collection of 25 ceramic found shopping list replicas. This series was commissioned for the City Gallery exhibition 'From Mundane to Friday: The Art of Everyday Melbourne' curated by the artist.

"I was 15 when I first got a part-time job as a supermarket trolley pusher. I’ve now worked there, on and off, for more than half my life. Part of the job is getting rid of any rubbish left behind in the trolleys. It’s usually just receipts and catalogues, but often, more interestingly, it’s abandoned shopping lists. Rather than throw away the lists, I read them and began to collect them. I now have a collection of more than 5000 found shopping lists.

Most shopping lists are written quickly, unlike ceramic-making which is very slow. And it is through this act of slowly recreating the objects that I allow myself the time and space to reflect on them. The shopping lists read like poetry and are often as revealing as portraiture is. Despite their anonymity, the lists are extremely intimate, providing unique portraits of the people we pass by in shop aisles.

As our world changed during the pandemic, these changes became evident in our shopping lists too. One list shown here reads, ‘Get pkt rice if you can’ and ‘Butter chicken OR SOMETHING ELSE’, reflecting that when panic buying began many lists included back-up plans, in case of empty shelves. The lists also reflected a shift towards community spirit; for instance, one list includes ‘Chocolates for neighbours." - Kenny Pittock, quote from 'From Mundane to Friday' exhibition catalogue, 2022