They Come They Shop They Go is a canny bonanza of 3D objects commonly known as ‘art multiples’ offered to an art hungry public eager to build a collection of contemporary art without the budget of an oligarch.
Assembly Line is an artist-run producer of exclusive art multiples by established artists willing to ask themselves the question ‘why make more than one?’. This vital query unlocks a multitude of treasured enquiries around art, retail, creativity and most importantly confronts the question ‘what shall I get them for Xmas!?’.
The artists create art multiples, series of collectable works that are affordable, with prices starting as low as £9. Believers in democratic luxury (1), Assembly Line want their creations to be collectable by people of all classes, but they also want the conversation about contemporary art to be something that is accessible to all.
Why make more than one?
How many items an edition should comprise of is neatly addressed by artist Kate Street. She presents ‘The Offering’, a bespoke edition of 28 printed aprons adorned with a string of counting beads. A heartfelt response to recent events surrounding women’s corporeal rights issues, the edition number is determined by the average number of days in the menstrual cycle.
Rose Eken’s multiple edition of 45 ceramic birthday candles was made to celebrate her 45th birthday, and was launched on the big day.
Similarly, founder Shane Bradford’s ‘Formula’ series of dipped F1 cars is limited to the number of cars starting on the F1 grid (20)
The question ‘why make more than one’ therefore is a tool that artists may use to probe their own working methods.
German ceramicist and painter Benedikt Hipp offers several Assembly Line editions, all fired in his homemade kiln in Bavaria. His Assembly Line editions such as ‘Fireball’ make a virtue of the unpredictable nature of natural kiln firing as the number of items in the edition is largely decided by which objects survive the heat. Numbered accordingly the process of producing objects in multiple consciously delves into the artistic process by embracing error as a virtue.
They come They Shop They Go differentiates itself from ordinary expos by retaining curatorial integrity whilst confronting the funding needs of artists. Assembly Line runs a semi-cooperative model where a portion of profits are shared amongst all contributors. As such, they claim a pinch of market control in harmony with the gallery system, as well as the means for customers to become collectors.
“They come. They sit. They go.” is an independent project space founded in 2021 by Cedric Christie & Pascal Rousson. The space is based in the Finch Café (2), 12 Sidworth Street London Fields, Hackney, London E8 3SD.
Shane Bradford, Assembly Line founder, said, “Assembly Line is about artists confronting and enjoying the retail aspect of art-making, embracing it, and gaining an element of control within it. We are driven to make beautiful things with some depth of meaning and don’t see why products can’t do the same. But Assembly Line is ultimately about connection; connecting art with everyday life, and connecting people with art. A contemporary project space within a café setting seems an ideal context for that”