The art of the found

But in other forms [than Duchamp’s Fountain], the modern art of the found is art in more fully responsive mode. It can be seen, for example, in the delicate sacramentality of Jim Ede’s assembly of found objects in Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. The questions about randomness and pattern that some artists were exploring through experiments in Dada, or other kinds of radical abstraction, were, in the hands of Ede (and many of the artists whose work he patronised), explored through natural objects arranged to express human pleasure and test the affinities and sympathies that seemed often to present themselves unbidden in the conjunctions of things. The arrangements emerge from human contemplation yet remain an honouring of qualities discerned in the objects themselves – and their relations – whereas the inversion of a lavatory bowl seems by contrast to be a noisy claim to attention that principally honours the act of the artist. The art of the found that can be refound by visitors to Kettle’s Yard is non-didactically optimistic that there are meaningful depths and rewarding pleasures in the way the world coheres, and that artists and viewers-of-art (who are likewise part of this interconnected world) add more to its fullness and self-actualisation by their participation in it; their creative yet faithful interaction with it.

from Ben Quash, Found Theology, chapter 1