BENEATH THE BEACH
Sir John Cass School of Art, London Metropolitan degree show
Beneath The Beach
Clay, painted plaster, chalk, 3D print, charcoal on paper, acrylic on paper, video projection, slide projector, tv screens
The show ‘Beneath The Beach’ serves as a box opening up for another self-created reality, or a ‘contact zone’. From aresearch into stones, conducted through Sara Rodrigues’ father in Portuguese beaches and later her own investigation on the Thames riverbed, come finding of Neolithic earthworks, burial and ceremonial sites that took place in the past. Waterfronts have always been closely associated with ideas of sacredness, worship, birth and death, and stones, in contrast to the mutable nature of water, establish an undeniable link to memories of a distant past for their stubborn materiality.
By studying each stone as an individual, we confer it the status of sculpture. At a closer look they release their anthropomorphic character, leaving us to consider if we are suffering from Pareidolia or indeed looking at our ancestors token heads. The casting and replication using conventional art materials emphasises its sculptural qualities whilst contextualising them within the tradition of figurative representation. In a restaging of modernism’s encounter with tribal art, the stones become masks that establish a dialogue with occult happenings and shamanic figures, which have featured so prominently in twentieth century art. In a neo-ethnic encounter with the humbleness of materials, its mystical properties are also put to test by the production of the object by the artist herself. Open to illusion, the work is mostly presented in a raw state, without a final layer, endlessly questioning.