Fiona Curran: Beach Fatigue at Carslaw St Lukes
What happens when the very urban connotations of dystopia come to an island paradise, or the apocalypse packs its bags and goes on holiday? Fiona Curran’s latest exhibition offers a distorted, slightly left-field postcard of what this might look like. It’s an eerie place that seemingly goes on at an infinitesimally slow pace. Beach Fatigue instils a sort of semi-stupor on its audience, encouraging you to shuffle around its mismatched mishmash of found carpets, geometric scrawlings and seemingly endless supply of palm trees like the brain-dead zombies of so many post-apocalyptic horror films.
Pale Horizon is an installation piece that entices you to sit on its weathered rugs and small stools and gaze upon the pastiche gleaming landscape of a desert island, as the sea shimmers on an infinite feedback loop. It raises some interesting questions about time: would time even exist as a concept if there were no humans around left to experience it? Beach Fatigue certainly seems to suggest that time would play by different rules come the end of the world.
Waiting for the Perfect View encapsulates the entire exhibition in a single piece. Rolled up carpets provide pillars atop which small toy palm trees sit precariously. A larger plastic palm tree with leaves made up of ostrich feathers stands adjacent, framing a large black and white vista. The photograph depicts an aerial image of palm trees, perhaps just waiting to be napalmed; you can almost hear the strains of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from that iconic scene of Apocalypse Now. The bleached white of the palm trees, usually so vibrant and colourful, also invokes the terrible all-consuming white that engulfs everything in its path when an atomic bomb is detonated. It’s like a sinister magic carpet ride.
Curran’s depiction of a rotten idyll is perhaps also a nod to John Milton’s infamous epic poem Paradise Lost, which tells the story of holy war between heaven and hell, the birth of humanity and Adam and Eve’s fall from grace. Interesting that Beach Fatigue should offer a nod to a literary depiction of the birth of humanity while simultaneously depicting its ultimate demise. It’s a quite a poetic juxtaposition of the beginning and the end.
Beach Fatigue is at Carlsaw St Lukes until 23rd November 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.