Chloe Steele

Objects for future shapes

Objects for future shapes, Photo 1
Objects for future shapes, Photo 2

Where do they come from?
I suppose I am making them up. But it feels like they already exist and I am groping around for their shape in a sort of primordial muck.

“…a tactile sensation is a blind spot; we touch in silhouette.”
Vladimir Nabakov, Ada or Ardor

A first lunch at Château de Sacy and Hermine cracks a boiled egg on her head; to show solidarity I do the same only to discover mine is not cooked.

I like the beginning stage. It’s very free. It’s the essence and then you start adding layers to give it…to give it…
Form, yes. And maybe some more essence

How’s it going?
Good. Thanks.
Do you know what you’re doing?
Sort of [No]
What kind of stuff do you do?
Drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos [I don’t know].
I’ll have to come and have a look.
Sure. Anytime [But I’ve done nothing and right now I’m not sure I’ll do anything ever again]

Chloe Steele

There is something universally obnoxious about the pursuit of truth, let’s be honest. Forget the platonic forms! Bring on the lies! Let’s revel in the approximation. Let’s watch the shadows dancing on the wall and not look back. There are no absolutes, except that one, and yes, that old paradox, but let’s draw the line somewhere, even if it’s just the outline.

Hang the ideal! What’s the use of squinting in vain. Think of the freedom of the illusion – those vague shapes and their wandering edges. What’s that nebulous shape you’ve been wrestling with all day? A stone, a bush, a pair of damn scissors! Is that it? After all that. Well that’s it then!

Isn’t that onion a little green? No? But doesn’t it look…no? Oh. Ok. I guess it doesn’t. No, no, you’re right. I mean, you must be. I’ll have two thanks.

Why, when you look at a forest, is it the clumps of trees you see? And why do they appear different every day? Is it them ? Is it you? Is it the light? Does it matter? In the dark everything stays the same. In the dark you feel nothing and nothing makes everything seem contrived, like a pose before a mirror. But after nothing comes something. Or at any rate somethingness. The lumps are showing at least.

So these, then, are the inscrutable beginnings. The stuff that came from nothing. The shapes revealed when the search was abandoned. The things stumbled upon as if by chance. From here it’s the direct route, the linear path. It’s time to surge onwards and stitch up the road behind; start with the cause for a change and see the effect for the hell of it.

Somehow you always end up facing the opposite direction or going backwards. But head toward something and see what you find. Maybe nothing but then, that’s not such a bad place to begin, or end.

Christine Caulfield, August 2006

Previous Work


“My work centres around the same things: structure, drawing and the relationship between the 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional. If my work is a response to where I am and what I experience, then I would describe it as autobiographical. Within my practice there is a constant battle between order and disorder, formal concepts disrupted by chance and the inability to produce what I originally had in mind.”

Chloe Steele

Chloe Steele Born in 1975 E-mail Exhibitions


Painting Prize finalist Site-specific wall drawing for Re:place as part of Ilkeston Festival, Derbyshire

Yellow Days

, Collyer-Bristow Gallery, London (solo)
Sovereign European Art Prize 2007, Club Row, London

Drawn Apart

, Contemporary Art Projects & Day and Faber, London


, Firstsite, Colchester

Objects for future shapes

, Château de Sacy

Flat Things

, Holt Gallery, Sherborne (solo)

Furthermore, ‘a book of proposals’

, launched Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool


, Keith Talent Gallery, London

Multi Storey

, Pump House Gallery, London

Perfect Imperfect: British Properties II

, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa & Modern Fuel Gallery, Kingston, Ontario

Flat Pack

, Turner Centre, Margate

The Simple Truth

, Norwich Gallery, Norwich

Sheffield 03

, Millennium Galleries, Sheffield

Perfect Imperfect

, Elveden Hall, Suffolk; Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery; Taxi Gallery, Cambridge & Norwich Arts Centre

Block View

, Queen of Hungary, Norwich (solo)

Up in the Air

, Kirby Gallery, Kirby (catalogue) Residencies
Slade School / West Dean Residency, West Dean College, Chichester

Objects for future shapes

, Château de Sacy

Match Making on Suzhou Creek

, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai, China

Gasworks workshop

, HweiLan, Taiwan Artist Links Delta Residency on Suzhou Creek, Shanghai, China

Up in the Air

, Kenley Close, Liverpool Education
Slade School of Fine Art (MFA Painting)
University of Edinburgh / Edinburgh College of Art (MA (Hons) Fine Art: First)
Chelsea College of Art and Design (Foundation) Awards and Grants
Henry Tonks Prize, Slade School of Fine Art
Commission for the British Council, Shanghai
AHRB grant British Council Grants to Artists Arts Council England Awards for Artists
Observer Hodge Photographic Award (Highly Commended) Commissions East Awards for Artists
Commissions East Awards for Artists
British Institute of Persian Studies Research Grant
Helen A Rose Bequest, Edinburgh College of Art