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Sculpture (MA)

Capability Harding

Mixed, medium artist and award winning restaurateur usually found working in the real world.

I was already making work to contemplate and investigate authenticity and syntheticity through various modes of practice and by over-layering levels of awareness, when I was approached by Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art in 2015 and asked to create a restaurant art project at the gallery. The independent restaurant, which I created and operated with my collaborators for over 3 years was transformative for the gallery and within the town, having been commissioned as a useful art project that would both contribute to and critique mima's new stated orientation at the time as 'the UK centre for Useful Art'. at the time mima planned to establish a "pioneering model" with an ethical mission to "replace spectators with users and authors with initiators''. A successful Arts Council Capital Works Grant application by mima at the time stated "This is more than remedial work but a strong conceptual statement to ‘correct’ a building designed around spectatorship, to become one built around usership".

My pre-existing concerns, and ultimately my experiences at mima whilst navigating its bureaucratic administrative conditions has led to my beginning to frame my work as a research question into relationships between spectacle and post truth.

I have often worked with participatory practices, in often nuanced ways, collaboratively or in terms of an ongoing dialogue with others and with a set of ideas that then acquire a narrative arc. My extraordinary work and experiences at mima for example - has in turn led to further contemplation of use, uselessness and agency and antinomies of experience that may surreal and absurdist nature of the gallery's institutionalised administrative condition. My experiences My usefulness, uselessness and agency as an attempt to process something of this experience, so that my institutional critique of mima is ongoing.

Double Secret Agent

I have been making work that aims to operate in two, or multiple, competing registers, for example work that aims to simultaneously create art-magic, whilst simultaneously disillusioning this aura, or that is poetic and also prosaic, fantastical and/or mundane, artistically sublime or else utilitarian, or absurd but all too real, and work which incorporates contrasting competing modes of aesthetic language and double ontologies.

My most recent work is despondent with a glimmer of optimism it explores the theme of agency as an extension of my inquiries into authenticity, spectacle, usefulness and uselessness. The work includes a pathetic rough-shod puppet construction, text and texture, a hack AI LED display displaying randomly selected sentences from thousands of ir/relevant documents and correspondences, an office booth constructed space that includes paintings and captions, including an inset painting co-opted from another artist. The installation also includes some balloons as a negotiated compromise of an original proposal, and online correspondence to this end.

Rough-shod sculpture
All The Fun Of The Fair


Rough-sawn ply, gloss paint, bed springs


90cm diameter

The Waiting Room World of Universe

Art projects and artist blog hosted by The Waiting Room vegetarian restaurant