London: Bruce Asbestos
June 02, 2021Posted by Anouka Pedley-Egan
The Other Art Fair London returns to West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross this 1–4 July 2021 and the Virtual Edition from 6–11 July 2021. We’re thrilled to introduce Bruce Asbestos as our Entrance Installation and Virtual Editions feature artist. Read on to find out more about Bruce and his unique practice.
Asbestos completed an MA in Fine Art with AHRC funding at Nottingham Trent University, which included a two-month scholarship at R.M.I.T, Melbourne. He has also studied at Musashino University on a scholarship in Tokyo, whilst on his BA in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent, and went on to set up Moot Gallery, My House Gallery and Trade Gallery. Bruce currently lives and works in Nottingham, UK.
At the Fair in King’s Cross and the Virtual Edition, Bruce will be presenting his iconic artwork ‘Eye of Newt’. The eye motif first appeared in digital renders on Bruce Asbestos’s instagram and has evolved from there. These experimental renders depict the motif in a variety of media and collections, in imagined exhibition spaces. The floating work draws on his experience of visiting the pond in the local park, looking at the frogspawn and wondering about the potential of frogspawn as a symbol for collectivity, community or possibility, all of which are desperately needed in these strange times.
Asbestos also wanted a very British symbol of hope:
“The work references the ‘Eye of Newt’, an ingredient used by the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, I was thinking of a symbol that was quintessentially British and perhaps wondering whether artists are a sort of cultural witch, who might be able to produce alternative ideas for our post-covid problems, this watching-eye artwork is our first ingredient.”
These artworks host complex themes of personal, cultural identity, fantasy and our collective relationship with commerce. Particularly, the work looks to make a sense of the idea of national and regional identity, given we are increasingly exposed to a shared global pop culture. The work prompts audiences to reflect on their own cultural experience.
Drawing from a rich history of popular culture, folklore and fairy tales, the Asbestos’ practice mixes everyday objects with high art, fashion, and aspects of popular culture from Japan, Europe, and the US. Combinations of objects and images manifest in absurd, idiosyncratic ways, setting up problematic relationships between disparate elements of pop and folk culture.