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"Simon Starling: Djungel"
2003-01-29 until 2003-03-16
South London Gallery
UK United Kingdom
Simon Starling is fascinated by the processes involved in transforming one object or substance into another. He makes us look at things with fresh eyes by drawing us into his own, very particular take on the processes by which objects come into existence discovering unlikely relationships between seemingly disparate objects. Starlingís work involves meticulous research, and tracking down source material for what he calls his 'experiments' has taken him around the world.
Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Djungel 2002 (djungel is Swedish for the word jungle), takes as its subject the process of transition from a West Indian cedar tree, felled in New Grant in Trinidad on 22 March 2002, to a huge curtain, spanning the entire width of the gallery, which has been hand-block printed by the artist with a botanical furnishing print. Designed in the 1920s by Josef Frank, who spent most of his working career in Sweden, the print design was based on jungle imagery found in childrenís books. Starlingís curtain provides a more direct connection with the original source of Frankís design, the jungle, by using a Trinidadian tree to make the wood blocks with which the curtain is printed. The finished work brings together the curtain and evidence of the processes involved in its making: the artistís improvised printing table, a fabric printer, pots of ink, wood blocks and the huge West Indian cedar tree, including its vast root ball, cut into sections from which
the printing blocks were cut.
For his new work in the project space, Starling again addresses his ongoing concerns with geography, plant life, mankind's intervention with nature, and the commercial uses of natural resources, and his contribution to this newspaper refers to a recent project entitled Kakteenhaus (Cactus House) 2002, in which he forged an unlikely relationship between a cactus and the engine of a Volvo 240 Estate; the cactus being the most economical of plants, while the combustion engine is characterised by enormous inefficiency.
Simon Starling lives and works in Glasgow and Berlin and is gaining increasing national and international recognition. This month he was chosen as one of Scotland's representatives at this year's Venice Biennale.