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Becky Beasley image


ASTRAY, 2014

Edition of 21, signed and numbered certificate

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Astray is a brass cast of a cheap plastic hotel ashtray with the word ‘Astray’ added in Gloucester MT Extra Condensed lettering. Technically a malapropism, the omission of the letter ‘h’ from the word ashtray (a nod to Richard Hamilton’s iconic addition of the letter ‘h’ to a French Ricard ashtray to write Richard) opens up a wild new dimension to the work, whilst also highlighting the Greek root word, Astra, meaning ‘from the stars’. An untimely object in light of smoking bans and public health campaigns the production of an ashtray in 2014 is both about loss and celebration, but also about the repurposing of a type of object which, in eBay searches, one finds regularly described not only as ashtray, but also as small pot, bowl, or tea-light holder. Considering the array of potential purposes the owner is invited to make their own decision as to exactly what use the work might serve for them.

The production of the edition came as an aftermath to, A Slight Nausea, a project at the South
London Gallery which was a live work that took the shape of a designed décor. Evolving over four weekends, visitors were invited to spend time in a purposely designed space and on the last weekend of the project the space was to become an indoor smoking environment. Permission was eventually denied by Southwark Council and the idea for the edition was born.


This edition is available to purchase in the SLG shop or by calling 020 7703 6120.

The South London Gallery is a member of the Own Art scheme, which makes buying art easy and affordable by letting you spread the cost of your purchase over 10 months with an interest free loan. For more information about our editions or how to apply for the Own Art scheme please contact the SLG Shop at mail@southlondongallery.org or call 020 7703 6120.

To see all SLG editions click here to download the leaflet.


Becky Beasley (b.1975) lives and works in Hastings. She graduated with an MFA from the Royal College of Art in 2002. Recent solo exhibitions include The Outside at Tate Britain (2012) and Spring Rain at Spike Island Bristol and Leeds Art Gallery (2013). Group exhibitions include The Narrators: Works from the Arts Council Collection, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2013); Think Twice, Whitechapel Gallery (2013); The Imaginary Museum, Kunstverein Munich (2012).