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OED Definition
Pronunciation: /SHredz/
Noun plural: strips of some material, such as paper, cloth, or food, that have been torn, cut, or scraped from something larger; [often with negative] a very small amount.
Origin: late Old English scrēad ‘piece cut off’, scrēadian ‘trim, prune’; related to shroud.

“The cathartic act of destruction – whether that be shredding, or impaling paper on a spike is a necessary part of the process for me. Especially if I am working form documents that I have had a previous relationships with – either in the writing of them or in connections to meetings or other bureaucratic processes. Shredding is such a satisfying act – it changes the meaning of the paper for me, from the content on the page to the materiality of the paper itself – from a page to hundreds of snippets.” Jeannie Driver in conversation with Alice Bradshaw, February 2103.

“The first version of this work [1967] was a mica and cement reproduction of the classical Callipigia Venus facing a heap of rags of various colours, which had been used by Pistoletto to clean his mirror paintings. Two further versions Venere degli stracci and Venere degli stracci dorata [Golden Venus of the Rags] 1967-71 were created from a plaster cast of the original. He later made others in marble and, in 1982, in polyurethane covered in fibreglass.” Carloyn Christov-Bakargiev (ed.) – Arte Povera (1991) Phaidon, London.

“In an unpublished artist’s statement in 1977, Pistoletto instructed: “In the various existing versions of the Venus, or the re-installation, you can use the same original rags or you can change them, but they must maintain their multi-coloured and ruffled character. One of the plaster Venuses of 1967 was broken. My project is to put the pieces together leaving the signs of breakage evident, like the tears in the rags.” Carloyn Christov-Bakargiev (ibid).

“Up until the late nineteenth century almost all paper in Europe was made from rags, and in fact a Scottish regulation made it illegal to make paper out of anything other than waste materials. […] The British tradition of doot to door collection of old clothes and fabric by the ‘rag and bone man’ stemmed from the demand by the paper industry for rags for fibre and bones for size [a kind of glue used to strengthen and coat paper for printing].” Mandy Haggith – Paper Trails: Trees to Trash – The True Cost of Paper, 2008, Virgin Books, London. Chapter 2: From Artisan to Industrialists, p.27/28.

José Parlá – Painters Rags 1 (2011) cotton, acrylic, rope, 12 x 21 x 9 inches / 30.5 x 53.3 x 22.9cm.

Jeannie Driver – Rising Tides of Bureaucracy (2010) shredded paper, dimensions variable

Mark Wagner – Dollar Broom (2011)

Valérie Buess – Cloud 2 (2002), paper, 30 x 28 x 65 cm

Bill Shackelford – Spamtrap (2007) “Spamtrap” is an interactive installation piece that prints, shreds and blacklists spam email. It interacts with spammers by monitoring several email addresses Shackelford created specifically to lure in spam and an old unused personal email address he used to lure in spam. He does not use these email addresses for any other communication. Shackelford posts these individual email addresses on websites and online bulletin boards that cause them to be harvested by spambots and then to start receiving spam.

Susanna Hertrich – Chrono-Shredder (2007-2012) The machine as performer. Chrono-Shredder is a poetic device with functions similar to those of a calendar and a clock, it continuously shreds every single day—minute after minute, hour after hour. All that time that is irreversibly lost, obtains a tangible existence in the form of shredded paper. As time passes by, the tattered remains of the past pile up under the device.

Michelangelo Pistoletto – Venus of the Rags (1967) mica, cement, rags. Statue h.130cm

Ni Haifeng - Return of the Shreds (2007)

Ni Haifeng – Paraproduction (2008)

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