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Takeover: #185 Tom Putman


︎ by Scott Gorman

Tom Putman: Instagram / Website


The mask in the dishwashing machine stares at me with empty eyes and the pointed lantern seems to want to emit something else than just light. At first sight, Tom Putman's work is disorienting; he positions and reshapes familiar images and found objects in various ways, combining them with one another and with objects he made himself. Tom graduated with Fine Art from the AKI in 2016. Often his works relate to the theme of mass production versus craft.

“So many more things interest me as I branch off from those main themes. I take small bits and pieces from other things I encounter. However, the making of a new work takes utmost priority. What I mean with this, is that I don’t pursue an end result beforehand. Only later when I’m done making, I stop and look to see what I will do with it exactly.”

The sculptural objects - preferably in installation form - are often colourful and mechanically made with tools such as laser cutters and- CNC milling machines. Tom sees the making of the pieces that then have to fit together perfectly as a challenge. He is always thinking about other materials he could use in this process. Once the sculptures have been made, he begins playing with them and moving them around. Here the objects start to relate to Tom himself and with each other.

“I think it is important to allow as much freedom as possible after I have made those objects. I get more energy from doing it that way as opposed to staying within my head to plan and think about everything I should do.”

With his work, Tom would like to show that familiar objects can be very beautiful and highlight visual characteristics that many people don’t notice. By taking them out of context you are invited to look twice at what you’re seeing, maybe even being unable to see what they are anymore.

During the Rizoom takeover Tom will share his creative process, including a glimpse into his studio and technical drawings: aspects that Tom does not usually share. He will also show sources of inspiration for him, like other artists, images of the city and various exhibitions in Utrecht.

#185 (15/11 - 19/11, 2021) Written by Esther van Zoelen / edit by Robin Speijer / interview by Joris Broekhoven