Northampton artist who wore the same suit every day for a year is up for a regional prize

Olive Sanderson confronting his reflection for the first time in 16 months.
Olive Sanderson confronting his reflection for the first time in 16 months.

A Northampton artist whose recent work includes wearing the same suit for a year, avoiding his reflection for 16 months and selling nearly all of his possessions, is in line to win a regional prize.

Olive Sanderson, from Pytchley Street in the town centre, has been shortlisted for the Platform Graduate Award for a series of university projects completed over the last three years.

The 22-year-old’s performance pieces, aimed at challenging the perceived wisdom around personal identity, are on display at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes this week.

His latest work entitled Suit, saw the artist wear a set of trousers and a jacket hemmed from a floral curtain for a year.

He finally undressed from the ragged two-piece suit at the launch of his gallery event this week.

“It was all about identity and ego,” he said. “The main struggle was keeping it clean and patching it up. Curtains aren’t really made to be worn.

“It is art because it is about challenging the way we do things every day.

“It’s also kind of poking fun at the idea of ‘the suit’.”

The Platform Graduate Award, run by Contemporary Visual Arts Network South East, features a shortlist of four artists from around Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

The winner will walk away with a £2,500 bursary and a year of expert mentoring.

Olive’s first solo show will be on display at the Milton Keynes gallery until Saturday and also features a work where he avoided his reflection for 16 months.

The young artist even had to wear balaclavas during that time to avoid catching a glimpse of his face in reflective surfaces.

Olive was selected for the award after displaying his work at the University of Northampton degree show earlier this year.

The Platform Graduate Award will see the shortlisted candidates face an interview on October 25 at the Jerwood Space, London.