alison shanks




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alison shanks

 

Alison Shanks Artist's Statement
 

I create Porcelain figurehead Sculptures which consist of silk screen printed collages of my photographic images inspired by the mass media- a kind of masque media- a carnival of people.

There is an underlining menace in my work, a glimpse of the dark side conjoined with an unusual humour. I want to question how we relate to and feel in our world as it rapidly changes. We are controlled, watched and manipulated through mass media to conform, and are depersonalised and some would say made inhuman through a constant bombardment of media images.

In my practice I want to make people laugh and think. To do this, I am exploring our experience of the "grotesque" and the 'uncanny'.

The use of the "grotesque" produces a kind of "soul dizziness" as you do not know whether to laugh or cry. Charles Baudelaire said that the essence of laughter in the grotesque hinges on four interrelated pairings, "humour and terror, innocence and corruption, wholeness and fragmentation, the natural and unnatural".

Sigmund Freud used the word 'Unheimlich' in his attempt to explain the "uncanny". He said that the uncanny is invoked in our perception when for instance something that was familiar becomes unfamiliar following the slightest change. Our own world is becoming increasingly fragmented and unfamiliar, and therefore becoming 'unheimlich' or, as the word translates, 'unhomely'. My larger than life-size figureheads play with an 'unsymmetrical butterfly effect' to create an illusionary judder, amplifying the feeling of Uncanniness.  

I find the use of two industrial materials, Porcelain and Steel, working together, amplifies the concepts of the works.