alex seton memorializes asylum seekers with 28 marble life jackets
 
alex seton memorializes asylum seekers with 28 marble life jackets
mar 17, 2014

alex seton memorializes asylum seekers with 28 marble life jackets

alex seton memorializes asylum seekers with 28 marble lifejackets
(above) installation view 2014 adelaide biennial of australian art: dark heart featuring alex seton, 2014
art gallery of south australia
march 1st through may 11, 2014

 

 

 

 

sydney based artist alex seton presents a monumental sculptural installation at the 2014 adelaide biennial ‘dark heart’, one which marries 21st-century ethics and ancient craftsmanship. he has carved 28 life jackets from white marble, composing ‘somebody died trying to have a life like mine’. the work stands in memorial of those that washed ashore the cocos islands in may of 2013, seeking safety from the perils of sea, persecution and rescue from torture of death. empty of the asylum seeker bodies that once inhabited them, ‘these jackets represent the lives of 28 unknown people who were simply looking for the chance to lead the lives that we enjoy everyday’, seton says. ‘the work asks, what is this darkness in our national character that means we do not readily extend good faith and protection to those who claim asylum?‘ seton’s work does not shy away from the tragedy of this event, nor does it force any particular experience on the viewer; rather it reminds us of the individual stories of those who undertook the fatal trip. the marble life vests, solemn and silent, are a testimonial to seton’s empathy for those trapped within a failing social system.

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
installation view 2014 adelaide biennial of australian art: dark heart featuring alex seton, 2014
art gallery of south australia
march 1st through may 11, 2014

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
installation view 2014 adelaide biennial of australian art: dark heart featuring alex seton, 2014
art gallery of south australia
march 1st through may 11, 2014

 

 

 

‘it is immediately obvious seton has invested significant attention-to-detail in the works, and in doing so has imbued them with an abject specificity. the jackets are undeniably beautiful objects, carved to the most minute details – the ripple of distressed lining and deceptive buoyancy, the sharpness of seams and crisp white nylon belts hanging limp through silver d-loops. in one exposed pocket, a few notes of iranian currency are wedged, encountered only as one comes almost full circle around the installation; until this point we have been denied any such explicit reference to the events on the cocos islands. through these details we are anchored in a specific time and place, while still retaining the eerie uncertainty with which we first experienced them.’ — kate britton on alex seton’s sculptural installation for the 2014 adelaide biennial of australian art

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
in the studio, intricately carving the 28 life jackets from marble
progress image by mark pokornoy

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
the sculptural forms aligned in the workplace
progress image by mark pokornoy

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
seton works on one of the hyper-realistic pieces
progress image by mark pokornoy

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
progress image by mark pokornoy

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
progress image by mark pokornoy

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
progress image by mark pokornoy

alex seton carves 28 marble lifejackets
progress image by mark pokornoy

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