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Astray

Astray, 2014 - Becky Beasly


about this work

Astray is a brass cast of a cheap plastic hotel ashtray with the word ‘Astray’ added in Gloucester MT Extra Condensed lettering. Technically a malapropism, the omission of the letter ‘h’ from the word ashtray (a nod to Richard Hamilton’s iconic addition of the letter ‘h’ to a French Ricard ashtray to write Richard) opens up a wild new dimension to the work, whilst also highlighting the Greek root word, 'Astra', meaning ‘from the stars’. An untimely object in light of smoking bans and public health campaigns the production of an ashtray in 2014 is both about loss and celebration, but also about the repurposing of a type of object which, in eBay searches, one finds regularly described not only as ashtray, but also as small pot, bowl, or tea-light holder. Considering the array of potential purposes the owner is invited to make their own decision as to exactly what use the work might serve for them.

The production of the edition came as an aftermath to A Slight Nausea, a project at the South London Gallery which was a live work that took the shape of a designed décor. Evolving over four weekends, visitors were invited to spend time in a purposely designed space and on the last weekend of the project the space was to become an indoor smoking environment. Permission was eventually denied by Southwark Council and the idea for the edition was born.

about Becky Beasly

°1975, Portsmouth (UK) – lives and works in Hastings (UK)

Becky Beasley explores relationships between photography and objects, the body and interiority in a way that is highly subjective and yet developed through deep immersion in the thoughts and methods of other artists and writers. Literature is particularly generative for the artist, providing her own work with a place to start from and to journey into.

(courtesy of Spike Island, Bristol)

Recent solo exhibitions include Tate Britain, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Leeds Art Gallery; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; 80 WSE Gallery, New York; and South London Gallery. Group exhibitions include Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Kunstverein Munich; Villa Empain, Brussels; Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp; Vleeshal, Middelburg; Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro, Nuoro; Kunstverein Freiburg; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York; Kunsthalle Bern; and MACBA, Barcelona.

Becky Beasley is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of her work.

Laura Bartlett Gallery, London  

Francesca Minini, Milan  

You can also discover more of Beasly’s work on her own website

Learn more about this artist