Jonathan Anderson & Alex Duncan – Real Estate | 9th February – 2nd March 2008

Real Estate

Melchett Now lets talk about something more jolly, shall we? Look, this is the amount of land we’ve recaptured since yesterday.

(Melchett and George move over to the map table.)

George Oh, excellent. Melchett Erm, what is the actual scale of this map, Darling?

Darling Erm, one-to-one, sir.

Melchett Come again?

Darling Er, the map is actually life-size sir. It’s superbly detailed. Look, look, theres a little worm.

Melchett Oh, yes. So the actual amount of land retaken is?

(Darling whips out a tape measure and measures the table)

Darling Excuse me, sir. Seventeen square feet, sir.

Melchett Excellent. So you see, young Blackadder didn’t die horribly in vain after all.

George If he did die, sir.

Darling Tch!

Melchett Thats the spirit, George. If nothing else works, then a total pig-heeaded unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.

With a constant bombardment of advertising telling us our houses are full of germs or that our normal grown grass is not “child and pet friendly” or “fun and safe” there arises a fearful distance between us and our controlled natural environment. It seems perfectly reasonable to protect an area of outstanding natural beauty, whilst pillaging another section of land for all that it is ‘worth’. What does this say about where our main interests lie? When we are segregating the very soil and rocks that holds our existence together.

The installation Real Estate delivers into the space a literal slice of life. Wooden industrial pallets act as transient plinths suggestive of trade and commerce and in this case this hill on pallets is a living thing offered temporary sanctuary from the ongoing culture versus nature war, here in the art space. When the living world is seen only as a resource to be exploited what is lost? When the closest we get to wilderness is a documentary on BBC 1 is it any wonder we often feel like some thing is missing from our lives?

One things for sure; wherever there is an irrational fear, there is a product-development team to fan it and feed it and profit from it. Then its just down to us to buy it, use it then dump it.

Thoreau’s belief was that it was for people to find a spiritual connection with nature; it was about creating an unpolluted space by an exercise of the imagination and will. Walden is now a pre-packaged public park. Controlled and conserved for people to spend their day driving to a ‘natural’ part of the world as advertised on television.

In a world where a natural grass landscape can be created for wildlife on the top of a car factory, and we mine sand for beaches we think of as paradise, from a hole in the ground in Belgium. For sales see gallery staff.