Poppy Jones-Little


‘The lumps give up their lumphood, so to speak, before they can become the statue.’

In reading Theodore Scaltsas’ account of Aristotle’s Theory of Substratum I encountered the term ‘lumphood’; curiously, the text provides no further insight into this idea. Over the past four years I have been scouring various discourses and texts which also utilise the word ‘lump’. From Marx’s lumpenproletariat to Virginia Woolf’s short stories, from parenting books to Biblical teachings, from Essentialism to Oncology, a ‘lump’ transcends disciplines and ultimately refuses clarification and classification.

‘Lump’ frequents wordplay and idioms, and drastically shifts meaning dependant upon its use as a noun, verb or adjective. They are not the same as ‘things’ or ‘objects’, nor can they be assimilated with ‘hunks’, ‘shards’ or ‘blobs’. A lump occupies a space somewhere within latency or excess, within the outer limits of our recognition.

waiting, brewing, anticipating or
unfurling, bursting, spilling out

Often understood as an indiscriminate piece of matter, I have come to realise that this term can act as a placeholder. A word that is uttered when the right word cannot be recalled; ‘lump’ creeps in without clear intention to denote a non-thing – unstable, uncomfortable, teetering at the edges.

A lump tends to be without –
without recognisable form, without present purpose, without immediate function.

Despite the uncertain etymology, ‘Lump’ is largely considered Germanic in origin. Examining this further, the ‘lumpenpack’, ‘lumpig’ and ‘lumpen’ within the German language all allude to the refuge and scraps, that which is wretched or worthless. These thoughts fuel my making as the materials utilised are largely ‘waste’. The current climate crisis and ecological emergency reinforced this decision; such awareness urged my work to shift, it compelled me to consider how I might ‘make’ without putting strain on our environment –

the world is already so full of stuff, I need not make any more.

Fundamentally, my praxis is attentive to found ‘objects’ and texts, concurrently. Reclaimed and broken furniture has become prominent; the past ‘function’ and ‘purpose’ is often lost – the object deactivated, opening up a rift for my interaction to take place.
I strip away appearances, exposing the essentially lumpen substances

– within.

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