The Independent Collector: This week: David Page

John Windsor's guide to collecting contemporary art
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The Independent Culture
DAVID PAGE'S witty illuminated plants, up to six feet tall, flourish in the fertile territory between fine art and decorative art. That might sound like an academic point, but it is basic to their appeal - and to their popularity among Brits who are unsure of their taste but eager to buy art for the home.

Their maximum illumination of only 20 watts classifies them as light sculpture rather than light fittings; they exude a soft glow rather than lighting up the room. And the wire that supports the tissue-paper skin is modelled in much the same way as the armature of a clay sculpture. The difference is that it remains visible.

"They are an extension of drawing," says Page. "I feel I am drawing not with a pencil but with wire."

Page, who is 33, studied fine art at the University of East London with the notorious Jake Chapman and Sam Taylor-Wood, whose work lacks Page's homely touch. He says that people often leave his sculptures permanently switched on, so that they are something welcoming to come home to. He also makes illuminated dogs, pigs and cattle.

The plants, some of them like giant, floor-standing leeks from another planet, were inspired by the observation that most house plants soon end up unwatered and dead. "These don't need water," he says. "You just plug in for instant greenery."

The semi-translucent tissue is sturdy, hand-made stuff from Tibet - fireproof, of course. The adhesive is wallpaper paste, plus a secret additive.

Two Christmases ago, The Conran Shop in London's Fulham Road commissioned 120 of Page's light sculptures, including two life-size human figures. Having brought a seasonal golden glow to the shop, they were all sold.

Since then, Page has had three successful shows at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, in Fitzrovia, central London, and has branched out into illuminated handbags, which can either be put on the floor or hung on pegs.

The gallery is certainly impressed, saying: "David has broken a tradition of over-precious tissue-and-wire lighting. No home should be without one."

Prices range from pounds 39-pounds 250; Rebecca Hossack Gallery, 0171-436 4899

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