A significant point of reference for me throughout my work has been the exhibition ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’, a collaborative exhibition between artists Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst and Angus Fairhurst. The 2004 exhibition was concerned with the contemporary consequences of the fall from grace expressed within the story of the garden of Eden. The exhibition broadly explores the human condition, particularly embodying the notion of ‘abjection’, characterised by Julia Kristiva in her essay Powers of Horror 1980 a phenomena that “disturbs identity, system and order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. The inbetween, the ambiguous, the composite”.
For me, the exhibition is an interesting exploration into the way that the themes from the story of Eden come forward and sit within a contemporary context, and with it bring contemporary concerns with meaning, metaphor, death, sex and religion. Particularly I am interested in the collage element of the exhibition, both explicitly present within the work of Fairhurst, but also in the expression of the exhibition as a whole.
Angus Fairhurst’s work has been a really important consideration when looking to my own practice, an important part of his work for me is described by Clarrie Wallis in her response to ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ as revolving “around an epic sense of collapse, of disintegration of form, and renewal”. Collages’ ability to capture this sense of both creation and destruction is, for Fairhurst, reminiscent of the human condition itself. It is through Fairhurst’s work that I have been able to recognise the ability of collage to act both conceptually and practically as an expression of a contemporary relationship with meaning.
A selection of Fairhurst’s works