L e f t O u t
2015 – 2016
Dimensions: 60cm (W) x 60cm (H) x 60cm (L)
Materials: Jesmonite cast encased in a bin liner
The theme of homelessness has found its way into Maxwell’s practice on many occasions. This particular work, titled Left Out, developed from an almost insignificant experience when Maxwell mistook a bin bag as homeless person after tripped over it whilst walking out a doorway.
Left Out appears as a person sitting down, cross-legged, in a large, black trash bag. In 2016 in an experiment of bystander intervention, Maxwell placed the original sculpture of Left Out on various streets in London and started filming the public’s reactions as they passed, some stopping to investigate what they thought was a person in a bin-bag, whilst others would simply walk on.
Five separate edits of the original footage went viral, reaching over 40million people.
“It’s a message about people being disposable. It’s quite a shocking an image. It’s the idea we see homeless people as garbage, it’s challenging.”
– A member of the public, Westminster Bridge.
Filmed and edited by Liam Thomson
Selected Syndication Highlights
2017 – B R O N Z E
Recently Maxwell has been working closely with a V&P.Tassis to transform bin-bag to bronze. The hyper-realistic detail and a specific patina maintain the surreal nature of the work to the highest degree.
P R E S S F O R L E F T O U T I N C L U D E S:
Artist Maxwell Rushton has created a sculpture called Left Out
that challenges our attitudes towards the homeless and the less fortunate
A bag of rubbish sits on the street. You do a double take as you realise that it actually does look like it is sitting. The shape of a person can be seen under the polyethene. What do you do?
Maxwell Rushton has created a sculpture called Left Out, a cast of a human figure covered in a bin bag, but the artwork is not so much the object but rather the reactions it evokes in passersby.
“The art does lie in the viewer and their reactions – or non-reactions,” Rushton says. “Roughly 70 per cent of people would notice it and then out of those, half reacted. That could be from looking over their shoulder to running over and trying to ‘save’ it, ripping the bin bag off. The other half would look at it and walk on.”
His sister Frankie worked for a time with Big Issue vendors in Leeds so the issue of homelessness has always been in his mind. He got the idea for Left Out last year after he walked out of a shop, tripped over a bin bag and spun around to apologise it, thinking it was a homeless person on the streets.
“A weird feeling of dread stayed with me for a few weeks,” Rushton recalls. “How I saw the homeless after that was significantly different afterwards and I wanted to create a visual cue that would offer that same impact of that experience.”
“It’s not an individual, it doesn’t have a face, it’s not male or female, you can think of it as anyone displaced, needing help,” Rushton explains. “It doesn’t illustrate culture or creed. It’s about humanity.”
At a time that divisions are being drawn between people and nations, Left Out makes us all consider how we treat those less fortunate than ourselves while exposing the indifference of others.
“Seeing others walk past – I hope that frightens people,” Rushton says. “Then they can ask, ‘Who would I be?’ and go and prove to themselves that they would be the person who cares.”