Don Driver

Music While you Work

1997
found bill hook, rope, plastic tubing, tarpaulin and disassembled cassette player
1000mm x 275mm

signed D. Driver, dated 1997 and inscribed “MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK” in ink on wood panel verso

Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist.

Essay

Music while you work, indeed. Looking at this knackered cassette player and creepy billhook with its scythe edge, a viewer might imagine a cassette of music chirpily playing whi...

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Estimate $2,500 - $3,500
Achieved $3,450

Don Driver

Music While you Work

1997

found bill hook, rope, plastic tubing, tarpaulin and disassembled cassette player

signed D. Driver, dated 1997 and inscribed “MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK” in ink on wood panel verso

1000mm x 275mm

Auction N˚1

Estimate $2,500 - $3,500

Achieved $3,450

Music While you Work

by John Hurrell

Music while you work, indeed. Looking at this knackered cassette player and creepy billhook with its scythe edge, a viewer might imagine a cassette of music chirpily playing while somebody trims a scruffy hedge, or worse, ferociously lays into a crowd with murderous, throat-slitting intent. The nature of the specified ‘work’ is the focus of this sinister assemblage, providing an invitation to think of the worst interpretative possibility, and encouraging speculation about the type of background music that would accompany said labour. Driver’s black humour is what keeps us guessing: a sound track for multiple murder. A little rhythmical impetus for a multiple slaying. Tuneful cadences for muscular action?

As Drivers go this may be a comparatively small wall hanging, with a solo implement, but it is nevertheless potent and strident. It doesn’t waver in its point about its points: the acute angle at the bottom of its downward trimmed tarpaulin, and the combination of the hooked rusty blade and the small ‘echoing’ blue triangle extending from its left edge, a negative shape created by the flipped-over, mutilated orange tarpaulin partially hidden by the decrepit blade itself.

Driver made a number of assemblages using suspended found tools and tarpaulin dropcloths, but not so many with single implements, or without agricultural bags. In many, like the Te Papa installation Ritual (1982), the tools look conspicuously lethal, and are just as crucial as other elements like goat skulls or carts, if not more. In Music While you Work it is the curved tip of the hook that slyly invites apprehension, more than the sharp edge of the blade. That nasty tip is accentuated by the other, echoing, pointy triangles around it, such as the previously-mentioned downward directing blue pennant it is attached to and the shadowy triangle of blue strategically peeking through the upper orange canvas tarp floating next to the blade.