Susan Collis


As good as it gets

  • 2008-2010
  • 18-carat white gold (hallmarked), white sapphire, turquoise
  • Purchased 2011
  • 15 x 410 x 17mm
  • 2011/236:a-d

Faced with what seems like a bare wall, you could easily assume that any art on it has been and gone. Come a little closer, though, and you’ll find things aren’t quite as they appear. Three unsightly rawlplugs – which at first look like the evidence of something once present but hastily removed – actually contain delicate turquoise inlays, while the ‘forgotten’ screw is cast in 18-carat white gold and set with a sparkling white sapphire. Like any good magician, Susan Collis has a talent for misdirection and surprise, and her works reward anyone prepared to take a second look.

(Absence, May 2023)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • We do this, 12 May 2018 - 26 May 2019

    Things aren’t always quite what they seem. Susan Collis creates small, subversive rips in the institutional façade, offering unexpected payoffs for close attention. Here, faced with a bare wall punctured by three rawlplugs and a single screw, her triumphant title is strangely incongruous. Was a work left in storage by mistake? Removed for repairs? Stolen? In fact, what looks accidental, even shoddy, is carefully calculated – those unsightly plugs contain delicate turquoise inlays, while the ‘forgotten’ screw is cast in 18-carat white gold, set with a sparkling white sapphire. It’s an elegant ruse, honouring the messy, essential work that goes on behind the scenes to keep the illusion of the Gallery’s white cube intact and also reminding us that what we value often depends entirely on perspective. Size isn’t everything, and treasure can be found in unexpected places.