FACTORUM23 Apr - 07 May 2024
Eloise Cato Exhibition - Factorum


Eloise Cato’s latest series, Factorum, delves into the notion of the art world as a factory-manufactured construct, exploring the dynamics of mass production, authenticity, and creativity. Inspired by the etymology of factus, meaning ‘came to be,’ Cato’s work serves as a testament to the enduring allure of alchemical principles in the modern context.

Factorum introduces the concept of the factory as a central theme, highlighting the tension between uniformity and individuality inherent in mass production. Cato asserts her agency within the confines of the factory, manipulating industrial processes to create objects of pure abstraction and formalism. Through her exploration, she challenges us to contemplate the true essence of creativity and the implications of mass production in contemporary society.

Cato imbues her work with a tactile quality that invites exploration of her unique compositions. Through a laborious process merging machine precision with the artist’s hand, she creates a dialogue between the synthetic and the natural, challenging perceptions of authenticity and authorship. These works play with basic repetitions of marks expected in line drawing, echoing an emphasis on the intrinsic qualities of her medium. The back-and-forth colouring seen in the repetition of the wrist, or the lines that have been wound—a twist in a bow or the slashes of an asterisk—each gesture speaks to Cato’s intimate dialogue with the processes of manufacture and production.

Meanwhile, the transition from factory to art gallery reflects a transformation in the perception and valuation of labour and creativity. Historically, factories have been emblematic of productivity, serving as the epicentre of industrialisation and economic growth. However, they have also been associated with labour exploitation, working-class struggles, and socioeconomic disparities.

The call to action on the cultural divide between factory and art gallery prompts us to critically examine the intersections of class, labour, and creativity. It challenges us to confront the inherent biases and inequalities embedded within our societal structures, and to strive for a more equitable and inclusive cultural landscape.

Moreover, the introduction of plastic as the first democratiser to society further complicates this dynamic. Initially hailed as a revolutionary material for its versatility and affordability, plastic challenged traditional constructs of value and accessibility. Its mass production and widespread availability democratised consumer goods, making previously luxury items accessible to broader segments of society. However, this democratisation also brought about environmental challenges and contributed to the commodification of culture.

In essence, Cato’s Factorum becomes a potent symbol of transformation, inviting us to reconsider our preconceptions and embrace the transformative power of manufactured form. Through her exploration of the art world as a factory, she challenges us to rethink our relationship with labour, creativity, and the objects that populate our lives.

– Joey Hespe, April 2024

Dates & Times

  • April23
  • Exhibition Start
  • May7
  • Exhibition Ends
  • May2
  • Opening event, 5-7pm

Eloise Cato

Eloise Cato’s practice has embraced the plastic age and all its manufactured mannerisms in the context of the machine of the art world, how its machinations fascinate and inform. Cato works by hijacking injection blow moulding machines of mass production to manipulate polyethylene into unexpected monochromatic abstractions. Endeavouring through the guise of a natural form, a cloak of ebony charcoal, to mask the sins of the synthetic. This surface is gently painted in a highly laborious and time-intensive process that’s not evident through the counting of brushstrokes.

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