“This body of work is an abstract visual interpretation of modern behaviour as a result of social media.
Human complexities work naturally in polarities; control vs chaos, calm vs manic, spontaneity vs stability. And yet, social media seems to only work in one direction: perfectionism. This undercurrent of perfectionism and its lack of contrast and authenticity is insidious; it flows and ebbs through a social media user’s daily routine, it underpins their actions, both in the real world and in the obscured fantasy that is the online social network. In search for perfection new avatars seem to lose that which makes them human; diametric opposites.
They instead choose to obscure their flaws with angles, filters and decorative language. It seems we’ve lost the ability to celebrate our opposites as we consistently applaud chosen singularities all in the name of perfection.
These ideas are reflected in this work. Contrasting mediums. Clay conjures thoughts of fluidity and malleability, its organically pliable. Yet when forced into a structured form it becomes rigid and immovable; stagnant, similar to the constructed and imposed angles of social media. I force my clay body into sharp gradients and contoured profiles to create dysfunctional vessels.
Finally upon a hardened surface, through unconscious play, I use brush and pen to impede the angular clay forms, to find a compositional focus. In choosing to work in this dichotic way and focus on opposites, my drawing process becomes chaotic rather than analytical or traditional. This disorder becomes the middle-ground, as I force the clay forms into the background, thus celebrating spontaneity and chaotic randomness that is absent from the online social world.
Hands are a recurring motif in my work. I place them in the foreground, symbolising gesture, individuality and personal creation, traits which are authentic to the individual and lack recognition on social platforms.”
Olivia Azzopardi, 2020