For Solve et Coagula, Test Space, Spike Island, Bristol, UK (2017) I presented a new series of works developed whilst on residency in September 2016 at Gamli Skóli, Hrísey, Iceland that explore the history and practice of alchemy. The project continues my ongoing interest into spirituality, Esotericism and different modes of perceiving reality often deemed unsubstantiated by Western academic thought.

Acting as fragments or clues, the works on show ruminated on the way in which abstract knowledge is collected, ordered and decoded. Embracing the potential that lies within the visual and historical associations that can be formed between disparate elements, the objects and materials presented are intended to act as a constellation of elusive prompts. A running thread throughout the show was the concept of learning as a labyrinth. Taking inspiration from the architecture of Spike Island itself (with its myriad corridors and contained, discreet, workspaces), locks, keys and mazes permeate the installation, as the audience is asked to consider how our access to knowledge is controlled or permitted.

Objects associated with the architecture and presentation of information, such as whiteboards and pin boards, are instead vessels holding cryptic text based print works that use tessellation and repetition to evoke a sense of space, distortion and momentum. The arrangements also feature two larger prints that distort and transfigure found imagery through a process of repeated scanning and printing. The iterative nature of this method, whereby visual information is cultivated and transformed, echoes one of the key aspects within the practice of alchemy, where the desired essentials of a material are extracted, refined and then recombined for increased potency.

  • Category: Exhibition, Installation, Practice-based research, Research, Sculpture
  • Tags: alchemy, esotericism, hermeticism, sculpture, installation, found object, print