James Capper's art incorporates the materials of mechanical engineering and the techniques of industrial design. Inspired as much by the pioneering inventor of earthmoving machinery Robert Gilmour LeTourneau as any canonical artist, Capper's methodology applies mechanical processes to the process of making art. The artist's repertoire of materials - steel, aluminium and hydraulics - as well as the means of their reconciliation - welding, metalworking and plasma-cutting - demonstrates his ability to incorporate industrial processes into the realisation of his artistic concepts.
The utilitarian impulse that underlies the works dictates that they are practical, that they work. The aesthetic appeal of these objects is commensurate with our appreciation of their ingenuity and their consequent fitness for purpose. Removed from the dictate of 'art for art's sake', these works are, like the best pieces of mechanical engineering, beautiful in their functionality.
The 'Ripper Teeth' are cutting, scoring and shaping tools designed for attachment to machines built by the artist. The teeth are contrived to carve and tear into the ground, inscribing patterns directly onto the terrain. With works such as ‘Porta Carve’ the machine is conceived to carve or draw with its specific mark making character into a variety of surfaces, gouging out a hole as the wheel rotates, in this instance into plaster.
Capper (b. 1987, London) received his B.A. in Sculpture from the Chelsea College of Arts and his M.A. from the Royal College of Art, London, where he was presented with the Jack Goldhill Award for Sculpture. Solo museum shows include DIVISIONS at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, HYDRAULIC SCULPTURES at the Cass Sculpture Foundation, and RIPPER TEETH IN ACTION at Modern Art Oxford. His works have been included in recent exhibitions at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; The Moving Museum, Dubai; The City of Prague Gallery; The Saatchi Gallery, London; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He lives and works in London.