Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Plastic City of Atlantis

Publication from Arts Co:

"Arts Co is pleased to present Atlantis, an exhibition by artist Gayle Chong Kwan. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Chong Kwan has been involved in exhibitions both in the UK and internationally and last year unveiled her permanent installation for London Underground, Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Chong Kwan’s work is in various collections including Arts Council England and The Government Art Fund.

Atlantis is an enormous mythical landscape, a city created and carved out of semi-opaque used plastic food packaging, collected from people who live in London and covering the entire exhibition space. This new work is based on master-planning projects, developments in tourism, regeneration and urban planning. It questions notions of waste, climate change and how this fits into our planning of cities and communal living.

The architecture of Atlantis is inspired by ideas of the lost city, whose beauty was unequalled but which vanished in a day. First described by Plato in around 360 BC, Atlantis was catastrophically buried under the sea, and an earthquake was unleashed onto the island, triggering the flood. Often treated as a literary device, Atlantis entered into the popular imagination in the 1880’s. Expeditions continue to search in various sites for the remains of Atlantis.

Mythologised for its abundance of beautiful temples, embellished palaces, harbours and luscious vegetation, the Atlantis of this exhibition has been carved out of plastic food containers, whose discarded remains may be found at the bottom of many of our rivers and seas, forming their own kinds of horrific waste cities or constructions themselves. With premonitions of our rising water levels, questions surround whether we are creating or living in the Atlantis of the future.

The Atlantis installation will be accompanied by large-scale photographs on the surrounding walls exploring this enchanting and uncanny city of plastic."

Available for viewing at 29 Thurloe Place, London, UK until Dec. 6, 2008.

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