2.5m (l) x 1.5m(d) x 3m (h)

Torn coloured polythene bags, taxidermied rat, nylon, lead

Exhibited at Die Green Live Pretty? Curated by Adventure Ecology and hosted by Pia Getty, London during the Frieze Art Fair, 2007.

Exhibited at EChO Wanted, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris (2008)

This work is made from thousands of thumb-sized pieces of stretched plastic from white carrier bags, black refuse bags, and the pinkish recycling bags supplied in tower hamlets. These are assembled to create the illusion of a group of geometric forms - three intersecting cuboids - suspended from nylon threads overhead. These forms are precise and to some extent give a sense of solidity, rather than primarily being a series of unconnected components.

A wild rat, preserved using traditional taxidermy techniques is suspended and appears to be falling through the layers of plastic, 'stretching' the forms out of shape and creating an area of chaos within the overall precision of the work. The rat is intended to reflect the unpredictable aspects of the processes of life and death, and the beauty of nature, found in all its perfection and ugliness.

The rat hangs roughly at shoulder-to-eye level, just below the main body of the work. The overall presence of the plastic is both imposing and intriguing, and the rat provides a focal point. This stereotypically unpleasant creature is what we are drawn to because it is something we can understand visually, and it animates the work.

The whole of the sculpture is affected by the passage of viewers through the space. There is constant and subtle movement, again creating conflicting feelings of fascination and unease.

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These images from EChO Wanted, Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris

 

Life - in the most fundamental of terms - is the environment.

As a society we create structures that we hope will protect us from the unpredictability of nature and thus our environment by providing a sense of stability, but maybe it is the case that our actions could actually inflame this unpredictability? Our way of life may be causing irreparable damage to that which sustains us.

Should we not be naturally drawn to 'rely' on this unpredictability for safety and reliability? As far as I can see, the one thing that we can rely on in this world is that it is unpredictable. Life is unpredictable. We will live and then we will die - this is all we know for sure, and any other details cannot be certain. I think it would be wonderful to be able to find comfort in this fact and to let go of any fears, but it is something that I constantly struggle with.

Maybe a fear of the unpredictability of life is symptomatic of our growing desire for ultimate (and unachievable) control. Maybe this desire is also what prevents us from fostering a positive and reciprocal relationship with nature, without seeing this as an obstacle or chore. There is no real reason why it should be desirable or even possible to explain everything that happens in the world, because any such explanations will always be incomplete, but we constantly seek reasonable justification for our changing environment, for natural disasters, for life and death. It feels easier to cling to things that are our own creations because of a superficial 'safety' but this is an illusion.

'Is life more important than the environment?':
I wonder what life might actually be defined as within this context. Does life mean happiness, fulfilling our material desires, or being at peace? Ultimately a deep understanding of nature would enable us to find peace and thus an acceptance of life and death, but are we even capable of this, and is it truly what we want?

Images from Die Green Live Pretty? Hosted by Pia Getty