Alison Lochhead’s current exhibition, Layered Memories of Conflict explored in MOMA Machynlleth is highly relevant with current international onflicts highlighting mankind is still unable to resolve issues by peaceful negotiation. For decades, leaders and politicians have used visual art as a means of repelling or attracting the viewer to particular situations.
The commissioned exhibition, now showing at The Museum of Modern Art Machynlleth until October 29, comprises seven free standing columns linked by a meandering pathway.
The structures are composed of different materials integral to the earth, clay, paper and iron, each holding different memories of strength, fragility, brittleness and vulnerability.
During the construction, Alison found ambiguities in the materials and acknowledges that assumptions cannot be made about where there is strength or weakness. Taking the human spine as an allegorical example, she said: “An iron backbone is brittle and unyielding whilst a paper spine is resilient, bendable and hard to destroy. Iron can sometimes be a much weaker material, the iron backbone, symbolically affiliated with strength, is often associated with decisions of going to war, whilst the paper spine, in today’s culture, represents weakness and vulnerability; the opposite can be the case. This installation, created for the Tannery at MoMA explores some of these ambiguities.”
Also included is the human cost of war; infant shoes sit poignantly on a landscape of destruction reminding the viewer that today, 90% of those killed in war are civilians. Alison has, with skill and sensitivity, explored an unpalatable truth, the outcome of which is a dramatic and compelling series of structures that invite the viewer to reflect on issues that conflict invariably produces.
It also encapsulates the words of Edgar Degas: “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
Degas’ words were reinforced by one visitor, a WW2 veteran, who remarked that, after close scrutiny, he had discovered dozens of faces within the structures.
Alison, who studied art and ceramics at Loughborough College of Art and Design and Wolverhampton Polytechnic, has travelled extensively working on accessing justice for women with many different organisations and governments. One of her current projects is working with the National Space Research Centre and the Institute of Astronomy Cambridge.
Living and working in Ceredigion, her highly acclaimed sculptures have been exhibited throughout the UK and worldwide.
‘Layered Memories of Conflict’ can be viewed at Y Tabernacl MoMA Machynlleth, Heol Penrallt, Machynlleth, Wales, SY20 8 JA.
Tel: 01654 703355 | Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm.
For more information about MOMA Machynlleth visit: www.moma.machynlleth.org.uk