Describing their practice as “diverse, imaginative and experimental graphic language” the pair collaborate to create comparisons and contemplations which relate to the world in which we live and our human interactions within it. Maslen and Mehra use their sculptural works to merge the old and the natural with the new and falsified man-made world. They deeply examine how we have the ability to change our landscape and in effect destroy it. The museum objects that serve as inspiration for the pieces in the show, remain only in reference as the works are captioned with a blurry photograph of the original artefacts blurb in its original setting. The pieces themselves are deconstructions of their originals, morphed by the changing opinions of time and thus leaving a haunting reality of our surrounding world.
The artist duo formulated the works on show based upon an extensive research process spanning three years. Commenting directly on the power of the history, document and museum cultures, they have collaborated and constructed works based on the collections of museums such as the V&A, The Archaeological Museum and the Asian Museum of Civilisation. With such a rich pool of sources of inspiration it is no surprise that the work they exhibit in the Impermanent Collection Exhibition follows suit. Featuring works across a multitude of disciplines, it is easy to see that the duo favour the relevance and strength of medium in creating a message rather than limiting themselves to a narrowed field of craft. Using materials familiar to the ages that they reference, the works create a dynamic connection between past, present and future allowing us to consider the consequences of our actions in the same way. Their in-depth research process, experimental techniques and thought-provoking themes all conjoin to create an eye-opening show which captures your interest from the moment you enter, until you can drag yourself away.
For me, the most spectacular moments of thought were created by a collection of plates. A nostalgic medium usually created in ceramics, but in this case recreated in paper-mache in the hands of Maslen and Mehra, they are transformed into a sinister community-reflective tool addressing the political, cultural and moral decisions we make and how they may be addressed as historical artefacts or moments in time. Almost mocking the way in which we now live compared to our past, they highlight our obsession with money, power and possessions.
Full of rich culturally influenced pieces from a wide assortment of lifestyles, there is not a dull moment in sight within the galleries’ walls. Sculptures depicting differing ages and cultures, beautifully composed photographic pieces that artificially falsify the reflection of nature, even the plinths form works of art structured from recycled wood. The exhibition considers a wealth of opinions and ideals generated through the duo’s three year research period. It suggests the past as much as it does the continuum of time, the transformation of familiar museological objects questions both our interaction with the past, and our wavering value of its importance. The objects denote all that we signify as old, with new disturbing morals and values we now portray as a society. This exhibition is both an enlightening and a worrying depiction of our actions brought into direct comparison with the actions of the past. Under-layered with an awareness of nature and our natural surroundings, all of the objects urge us to more deeply analyse the world we live in and its potential as our legacy.
The Impermanent Collection runs from the 8th September until the 6th October at Occupy My Time Gallery, Enclave 9 Resolution Way, Deptford, London SE8 4NT.