DEBRA FRANSES BEAN
Debra Franses Bean was born in London in 1967 into an era of pop art and grew up in an environment of art and fashion.
Her father was in the handbag business and her mother an artist. She travelled as a child but was most influenced in her early years by trips to America’s Wild West, Disney and Las Vegas.
After initially working, she abandoned the world of business for the life of an artist. Completing her studies at one of the most renowned art schools, Central Saint Martins, famous for fashion designers and sculptors. Here is where she started experimenting with a range of medias. Her work always showed a commercial and whimsical edge as she took on the role of global consumer.
Here the first Artbag sculpture was made from Plaster and covered in pins – “To have and to hold” was the text. The next piece in metal and fabric containing a gun hanging from a rope called “restraint”. The next “catch” cast in resin and containing a real goldfish, sitting in a tank of water. Text titles form an important conceptual part of her work. Initially a series of multiples grew as coloured empty vessels in bright colours lit from behind – ‘plastic light fantastic’.
D F Bean's Studio is as transparent as her work, with large glass windows that echo the exposed contents of her artbag sculptures, only the glass studio's contents are continually in flux, unlike her Artbags which are frozen moments of consumption. A series of identical, crystal - clear handbag sculptures contain a plethora of desirable objects - often the kind whose appeal is short-lived. Instead Bean mummifies her objects in a chic resin coffin, they are satisfying in a way that the actual experience of consumption can never be by prolonging the moment, held forever in time. Her Artbags contain wads of cash, slick handguns, designer lipstick tubes, lollypops and all manner of objects denoting both high and low levels of comfort, prestige and style. They take their cue from kitschy elements of popular culture, referencing both pop art and postmodernism's endeavours to embody these ideals. The relentless repetition of this as a form and concept is replete with notions of the mass manufactured products that contribute to society's increasingly cluttered landscape of stuff.