Alex Young (They/her)
A recycling of the present permeates my assemblages of natural materials and cultural artefacts. I collect discarded leftovers and remnants of nature: ashes, pulverised prescription pills, earth dug up from an industrial ruin. These remains are re-purposed, alienated from their past, disrupting memory to form new narratives. Materials help me to make sense of time; the growth, accumulation and inevitable decay or destruction of matter generate the work. Influenced by New Materialism and Object-oriented ontology, my practice is driven by a fascination with material properties, but there is also an underlying preoccupation with disorder and environmental collapse.
Heat rises and dust collects, 2022
This installation envisions a barren, apocalyptic landscape formed of waste. The space is haunted by absence, yet its towering scale invites the viewer, who must watch their step to preserve the fragile forms within it.
I re-purpose fragments of urban detritus to question the values of post-industrial society and portray its inherent grittiness. The juxtaposition of natural and fabricated materials disrupts the perceived separation between nature and the human world: cool, hard metal contrasts with soft, plastic mesh and tender twigs; diverse forms co-habit the space, like species interacting in ecosystems. Crucially, the burnt crust of the central sculpture is made from the same materials as the surrounding tree-like structures – a display of continuous transformation that resembles cycles of mutability and decay.
The sculptures toy with representation through the symbolic use of material and the semantics of form. The unpolished aesthetic reveals constant wear and tear, while process and material properties take centre-stage. Intense fiery colours offset the limited palette of earthy and industrial materials, creating an ecological disturbance.