The smell of plastic is noticeable as soon as it enters. The KM21 space has been converted into a corridor several meters long. On either side, continuous pieces of truck tarpaulins form the new walls of the exhibition hall. The thicker fabric shows small rips here and there and holes that may or may not have been patched.
British artist Samara Scott (1985) is known for her installations that respond to exhibition space and use discarded objects and materials. for the exhibition Discordia At the KM21 Museum in The Hague, I was impressed by the meaning of transit and transportation. Scott lives in Dover, across from the harbour, so she encounters the arrival and departure of goods and people on a daily basis. The title of the exhibition also comes from that environment. Discordia is the name of a large carrier from the Balkans, which travels many kilometers across Europe and regularly appears in the port of Dover.
The display of transport equipment evokes associations, for example, with the work of Ghanaian Ibrahim Mahama. He is also inspired by transportation in his work. For example, he made installations with old chairs from train cars, or used jute bags to denounce failing systems in society. Mahama cares about the route these bags usually take. It is produced in the East, and they travel to Ghana to transport the cocoa to the West and back to Ghana as waste. Thus Mahama conceived of the relationship between the history of different continents and the poverty and inequality that accompany it.
The paradox of beauty
While both Scott and Mahama are interested in the history and stories behind the material, they take different approaches. Mahama’s work consists of direct criticism of societal abuses, while Scott’s work consists of direct criticism of societal abuses Discordia He does not appear to take a strong position on issues such as consumerism or exploitation. Instead, she is interested in the fusion of the natural and the artificial. Through her work, she wants to show the paradox of beauty and brutality that unfolds in a borderland.
compared to Scott’s previous work Discordia float on the surface. Take work, for example Belt and Road from 2019, which is suspended above the visitor as a roof of various materials. It was the strange mixture of these materials, from cat litter to cosmetics, and the unexpected construction in the display space that caused confusion and stratification, while Discordia It shows an almost static fixation in which an object that lies in everyday or neglected life becomes visible. The dust on the road, the exhaust fumes, the passing landscape, all left their mark. Shifting lettering, bruises, wrinkles and holes in the sails also illustrate the passage of time.
Scott leaves the truck’s wall of hoods almost untouched, save for a few tail lights that illuminate the parts. Due to the linearity of the composition, the sails themselves form serene images, a far cry from the frenetic pace associated with transportation. Despite the fact that familiarity with the material is already thought-provoking in our consumer society, it is unfortunate that Scott did not contrast the dark sides of transport more forcefully with the aesthetics of discarded sails, in order to illuminate all facets of its subject matter. .
Read also: “Artists must start working from a more ethical point of view”
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