Simon Starling’s work
Simon Starling is fascinated by the processes involved in transforming one object or substance into another. He makes objects, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys which draw out an array of ideas about nature, technology and economics. Starling describes his work as ‘the physical manifestation of a thought process’, revealing hidden histories and relationships.
For Tabernas Desert Run 2004, Starling crossed the Tabernas desert in Spain on an improvised electric bicycle. The only waste product the vehicle produced was water, which he used to paint an illustration of a cactus. The contrast between the supremely efficient cactus and the contrived efforts of man is both comic and insightful, highlighting the commercial exploitation of natural resources in the region.
Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No 2) 2005 has a similar circularity. Starling dismantled a shed and turned it into a boat; loaded with the remains of the shed, the boat was paddled down the Rhine to a museum in Basel, dismantled and re-made into a shed.Both pilgrimages, provide a kind of buttress against the pressures of modernity, mass production and global capitalism.
Starling’s new work One Ton, II 2005 focuses attention on energy consumption: the huge amounts of energy used to produce tiny quantities of platinum. One ton of ore, mined from the South African open cast mine pictured in the images, was needed to produce the five handmade platinum prints exhibited here.