Union Gallery is pleased to announce Living Systems with a sculptural installation by Matt O’dell.
This body of work focuses on relationships between architecture, nature, and simulated environments. The three works displayed in the exhibition are unified by their medium, concrete. Fundamental to O’dell’s work is the practice of repetition constructing and casting repeated forms, often thousands of times. The sculptures dictate their own form, as if the natural element has its own predetermined ordering system.
Rooted in O’dell’s work is the comparison to brutalist housing communities, futurist city planning, and post-apocalyptic societies. O’dell has a fascination with alternative societies, such as Arcosanti in Arizona, USA, and failed visionary architecture. Read in this context, the scope of the structures becomes on one hand aspirational, akin to buildings dreamt up by the Futurist architects, but also feels like failed and deserted utopian visions.
This is replicated in Empire (flag with a hole), a free-standing sculpture. In this work the building is abandoned, and the flags have had their logos cut-out, symbolizing a revolution that once may have happened.
The floor based sculpture Simulation theory: expanding landscape takes this further, like a virtual terrain from an open world computer game (such as Minecraft), this simulated environment again seems to be without control, as if its size and scope could grow forever, a self-generating architectural landscape.
In the large wall based work titled Forbidden Archaeology the form is repeated numerous times. Each element has been individually cast in concrete and coloured with pigment, each one unique to the next. Growing out of green leaf-like tiles the stacking system remains organic in its build, like a giant beehive.
Matt O’dell (b. 1976) has exhibited widely, including at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, New Contemporaries; Beck’s Futures Student Film and Video Prize, ICA Gallery; Lisson Gallery, London; Richard Wentworth’s Thinking Aloud at Camden Arts Centre, London; Yvon Lambert, Paris.
O’dell lives and works in East Sussex, UK