For her first major project this side of the Channel, Samara Scott (b. 1985, London) takes over the great nave of the CAPC, installing a huge artificial ceiling composed of beached debris. The public is invited to walk around and under it, to experience the dual identity of this large-scale alchemical collage, both digital and material, attractive and repulsive.
Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011, Samara Scott has developed a practice fuelled by the context of hyper-consumerism. This has resulted in poisonously coloured installations made through ‘hijacking’ manufactured objects and organic or chemical by-products of mass production. Before each exhibition, she experiments extensively with the resistance and aesthetic performance of the large array of materials that make up her artworks, such as sponges, toilet paper, nail polish, lettuce leaves, fabric softener, cigarette ash, toothpaste, candles, tights, and tin foil.
At the CAPC the artist has suspended an opaque veil, which divides the central space of the art museum horizontally, creating a fluid 10,000 square-foot canopy over the impressive nave at mezzanine level. On this plane Scott has created a vast ‘pictorial’, multimedia composition using plastics, textiles, fluids, and scrap, as well as substances like coffee, cotton and spices, which hark back to the historical use of the CAPC building as a warehouse for colonial goods in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The installation can be experienced both from above and from below, offering visitors two very different perspectives on the same work. From underneath, the work is smooth and can only be seen as a flush image: an iridescent sky, which seems to successively float, shiver, and ripple as you walk beneath it; or a shimmering sea, under which one is submerged and experiences filtering rays of sunlight while rising to the surface. From the mezzanines, it recasts itself and unveils the waste objects that make up this blasted landscape of the twenty-first century, fully embracing its ‘toxic positivity’. Nothing here seems to separate material culture from the digital world, nor the sublime from the sordid.