Fraser Stewart is an Amsterdam-based artist whose creative journey, rooted in a small village upbringing, has evolved into a dynamic exploration of failure as a critical element in the context of Western capitalism. Holding a BA hon’s First class from Leeds Met School for Contemporary Art and a Masters in Artistic Research from The Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, Stewart’s artistry has been enriched by a prestigious two-year Artist in Residence at the Rijksakademie Amsterdam.


In my artistic practice, themes of failure unfold as a profound reflection on the prevailing nature of success at any cost within Western capitalism. Stewart’s work delves into the potential transformation of objects and narratives, employing diverse mediums and materials to create a dialogue that considers failure as a power equal to success. Drawing inspiration from the concept of planned obsolescence, his art extends this idea to encompass meanings and cultural references that can shift, transform, or disappear altogether.


Operating as a committed dilettante across various mediums such as artwork, sculpture, films, installations, photographs, and prints, Stewart embraces a performative mode of thinking. His artistic repertoire, ranging from falling out of the ceiling in early performances to integrating ceramics with performance, film, video, photography, and printmaking in recent explorations, aims to provide commentary on societal observations. This multi-dimensional approach articulates his perspective on the world we inhabit.


The integration of Earth-ships and Rocket Mass Heaters in recent research represents a holistic approach to sustainable living, offering tangible solutions for a more eco-friendly future. This exploration aligns with Stewart’s broader themes, where the finality of materials and the transformative potential of objects converge. Through replicating and mutating everyday objects like axes and motorbike helmets in ceramics, he redirects their practical and potentially menacing power to a symbolic level, challenging established meanings.


In the series “Skid Lid,” the medium of ceramics becomes a canvas for creating fictions around the meaning and symbolic nature of everyday objects. Motorbike helmets, mass-produced for safety but also capable of disguising one’s identity, present a paradox wherein the viewer must be wary of the artwork’s safety. This juxtaposition echoes the broader tension Stewart seeks to evoke in his exploration of failure and transformation.


Stewart’s work, akin to the technologically sublime, addresses the sublime nature of new technologies and the finality of materials. In contemplating the axe as an object with a millennia-long history, he transforms its tough and rigid nature into something fragile and fluid, underscoring the malleability of cultural references.


In essence, my artistic journey is an ongoing narrative that invites viewers to explore the complexities of failure, transformation, and the symbiotic relationship between objects and narratives in the context of our ever-evolving world.


This is my place, Kunst Kammers Rotterdam