Statement for unit 7 Exhibition Piece

rhodo

The wall-based piece is a large digital collage that I printed onto fabric, measuring 1m square. I used found imagery of rocks, minerals and piles of rubble: blurring the lines between the natural and the man-made; the monumental and the insignificant; and raising questions of value and desirability in the conflation of gems and debris. This was inspired by the Buddleia plant, which is notorious for its ability to thrive in wasteland, sowing its seeds along railway sides and in the cracks of buildings.

Alonside this a three-dimensional element using found materials and a Rhododendron plant which, like the Buddleia, is considered an invasive species in the UK. This topic interested me as it brings up questions of mobility, change and why we consider certain species to be ‘native’ and how this is constructed. I wanted to use real plants in the piece as they provide a textural contrast to the other materials and a sort of time-based/mutable element. The Rhododendron sits in a sparse, almost sanitary looking environment, created using a camping mat and marble-effect vinyl. Marble has connotations of wealth and expense, and the established notions of knowledge and power associated with classical society. However this is subverted by the use of cheap, imitation materials.

I also looked at the makeshift homes of migrants and refugees, particularly in the ‘jungle’, a camp in Calais. Making their homes out of tarpaulins, plastic and scavenged materials, these settlements are often viewed as a blight on the physical and social landscape. However they also show resilience and ingenuity. I like the dialogue between the subject of migration and invasive species, and the questions that arise about homes, exile and belonging.

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