Shiny Happy People, featured at the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective, is a sculptural installation by Victoria-based American artist Carley Smith. Shiny Happy People is composed of recycled non-precious materials, proposing a challenge to what is considered precious, beautiful, and enjoyable. Playful and colourful, the work crosses between installation and object-based pieces that gain personalities and tendencies of their own. Often succumbing to gravity and wind currents, the environment and the materials evolve over the course of the exhibition. Change is welcomed – subtle or sudden – reflecting the pieces back into their previous material states of garbage, decay, and dysfunction. Nothing is permanent, and nothing is immune to change. As the materials undergo change, they act as metaphors for humans and the constructed society we live in, one in which people and their material things are veiled in a manicured, glitzy disguise until deemed obsolete. If art can change or deteriorate naturally and still retain its beauty, why can’t people and their objects? Are we denying a completely natural and unavoidable fact, and who truly are the Shiny Happy People?
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