A gigantic diamond dome, shoals of strange skeletal fish and human heads dissected like packs of cards, meet Marcel Duchamp and the surrealists in ‘Fallis in Wonderland’, the forthcoming exhibition of sculptures by Abigail Fallis at Pangolin London.
Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic fantasy, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Fallis uses humor and absurd distortion to draw our attention to the issues that trouble her– mass consumerism, scientific distortion and environmental destruction: “When we consider our planet and its entire species we really are living in a wonderland,” she says. “In these works I am concerned about the growing divide between humankind and nature.”
Cast in bronze, Earmarked for Survival plays on Darwin’s theory of adaptation and the idea of genetic modification depicting a mouse with the artist’s ear on its back; Tuna Fish with Strings Attached depicts a tuna fish skeleton bowed out of recognition to resemble a musical instrument while Shoal de Lier is sixteen bronze mackerel skeletons transformed into a baroque chandelier.
The execution of a work such as this smacks of a technical bravado born of Fallis’ residency and access to the skilled metal workers at the Pangolin Foundry.
For The Queen of Hearts, Fallis had her head cast at the foundry. The cast was then sliced into pieces which were transformed into playing cards. When assembled, the effect is of a monumental sculptural puzzle. “Life is a game of chance”, says the artist, who has also made three life-size versions of The Queen of Hearts: in mild steel, stainless steel and shattered glass, each material representative of a different ‘state of mind’.
Several other works bear titles that refer to Carroll’s book: The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Mouse’s Tale, The Red Queen. Amongst them you’ll also find Urinal, a clear homage to Duchamp the chess player and ultimate master of the transformation of everyday objects into something entirely different.
Whilst Fallis is addressing serious concerns about the threats to life on the planet, she does so in such a humorous and intelligent way, that ultimately hers must be a message of hope.
For more information about Fallis in Wonderland at the Pangolin London see the website: www.pangolinlondon.com