Alex De Roeck, & Ann Ensor
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THE COMPLEX PRESENTS NEWLY COMMISSIONED WORK BY
ALEX DE ROECK & ANN ENSOR
IN THE GROUND FLOOR GALLERY
“In many ways the ground beneath our feet is as alien as a distant planet. The processes occurring in the top few centimeters of Earth's surface are the basis of all life on dry land, but the opacity of soil has severely limited our understanding of how it functions. As creatures of the aerial world, we have a decidedly distorted view of this nurturing underworld.” -
“Nature echoes Reality, Artifice echoes Fiction” is the theme for this year’s visual art programme at The Complex, one which was in development well before you-know-what struck our shores last year. This 2 person exhibition featuring newly commissioned works by Alex de Roeck and Ann Ensor, was developed over a period of time when the lines between reality and fiction became blurred, when at times it felt as if we were living out a surreal dystopian sci-fi film.
‘Lost Green’ presents us with a series of dichotomies as the two artists' practices converge to create a fantastical environment that deals with ecology, anthropomorphism and materiality. Ann Ensor’s use of material presents a sincere canvas, raw and natural, evoking an earthly familiarity, whereas Alex de Roeck’s work is artificially moulded presenting a fantasy narrative "I want the work to imitate ‘the natural’, just like how boys toys in the 90s would, caves, goo, mechanics, zombies and children all existing in one space. Synthetic debris, synthetic abjection, synthetic nature"
Through a series of studio visits and email exchanges, the artists developed their work separately, whilst sharing research material and bearing in mind an imagined entangled ecology inhabited by plants, creatures and objects, that was a shared ‘scene’ devised by the artists at the beginning of the project. “Due to much unknowing and lack of familiar communication, the work has evolved in a very intuitive, playful, experimental, and inquiring way, just working in the moment without any concern for the result. While working I kept in mind the agency of the raw earth material, other materials, including the perception in my own body. I found the information needed for each step arose in the process spontaneously. I also kept in the back of the mind some conscious thoughts on an entangled ecology and a feeling for Alex’ s practice. This has brought about a journey, an adventure and a trust in collective unconscious energies that I can influence but not know the whole picture”
The contrast of the artists’ materials creates further tension, signifying differences between the artists' practices and their intentions, whilst at the same time their shared interest in fantasy and fiction acts as an adhesive, binding their works to perform a narrative.
The two artists created a bank of research material in developing ‘Lost Green’ which will be collaged together to create an interactive webpage on The Complex website. This mashup of visuals and audio presented a month before the exhibition opening acts as a sort of interactive exhibition poster, various imagery within the poster have links to further visuals which give further insight into the development of Lost Green.
1. 'Ecology in the Underworld', Andrew Sugden, Richard Stone, and Caroline Ash, Science Journal, Vol. 304, Issue 5677, pp. 1613
2. Alex de Roeck, email exchange with the curators, June 2021
3. Ann Ensor, exhibition statement, June 2021
Alex de Roeck is an Irish artist and co-founder of GUM collective, currently living and working in Dublin. Alex works primarily through assemblage and sculpture, often fusing found objects with raw materials to form hybrid works that feel juvenile yet uncanny. Pulling from a multitude of second hand sources (charity shops, free religious pamphlets, junkyard) he creates new narratives from the death and decay of the misused and abandoned. He blends the psychological and the physical in synchronisation while deploying tactics associated with theatre (e.g. tragicomedy, theatrical clichés, alienation effect) to create multidimensional scenarios. His interests lie in areas of the carnivalesque, monumentality, anthropomorphism and semiotics, simultaneously referencing each to depict somewhat of a fictionalised degeneracy.
Ann Ensor graduated from NCAD in 2015 with a first class honours degree and completed an MFA in NCAD in 2017. Ensor’s practice brings together sculpture, paint and sound and explores a materialism that is common to the entire environment. Dynamic materiality has an inherent agency that flows within and through all forms of life. Ensor explores what is meaningful to us individually and collectively in this way of considering materiality. Her work for ‘Lost Green’ comprises a hovering sculpture of a strange critter suggesting an Underworld that both floats above and embodies us; a rupture that has released destructive forces from the Underworld to the technological Overworld. Some mud blocks form an altar celebrating the continual sacrifice or transformation of energies. The work is made from earth, air dried oak and ash brought down in a storm, and recycled found materials.
The Complex's gallery programme is proudly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.
Support for 'Lost Green' artists from Fingal Co. Council.