Sebastian Lloyd Rees’ current practice deals with the appropriation and re-contextualization of urban surroundings. Hoardings, doors, scrap metal, signage and industrial fragments become part of his artistic language.
Created using a found piece of wood, Hoarding (Silvertown way 9th January 17.13 GMT – 2015) oscillates between the aesthetics of the plywood and that of disposal and degradation. Contingent and sporadic wear and damage marks scatter the façade; these marks speak to pollution damage and ill maintenance that so often takes place around cities. The various contrasts played out in the work make a consideration of the cycles and effects of mass production, circulation, consumption, accumulation and waste.
Rees’ work might be seen as a form of contemporary archaeology, studying, selecting and eventually seizing found materials from the urban environment. Similar to Roman or Greek murals in musicological displays, the elements that Rees isolates depict only fragments of their habitual surroundings leaving what lies in between them to the viewer’s own imagination. However, the process of sourcing found objects is as essential to Rees’ work as their final display. There is also a tacit questioning of what is waste, and furthermore what is allowed to become waste.
The fabricators of the hoarding, a material that is used as a layer of separation between the outside world and buildings that are supposed to be protected, have no artistic training and, one could assume no artistic intention. Even still, with Rees’ removal the traces of their artistry become more apparent. Labour, construction and preventative measures are combined and transformed when entering the artists’ studio and subsequently the space of the gallery where it enters into a radically different physical environment.
The material is removed with a team of collaborators and altered with minimal artistic gesture and frivolity. The clean cut lines that shape the hoarding and the uniform sizing of the panels are the only traces of the artist’s hand, everything else is left intact and on-surface just as Rees first came across it. The materials gathered in his visit are re-contextualised in London with the addition of the frame. The latter, collected in London, acts to bring heightened awareness to the inherent artistic qualities of the found objects.