BOHEMIA: Caustic Windows

By Shannon Brien

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and this seems to apply to the urban renewal of towns like Shoreditch, Hackney and Dalston which are now home to an array of hip hangouts that top most ‘Must do’ lists in London.

Caustic Windows, by street artist Alaric Hammond, uncovers unexpected beauty by depicting the exciting friction between the urban and metropolitan areas of London.

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“The artist has spent a lot of time living and moving between one place and another; living in the margins of communities. This has led to an almost anthropological observation of how we live our lives in our cities,” says the Saatchi Gallery. This experience has led him to believe that people are the key developers of these up and coming areas, not banks, landlords or real estate agents. “The same kind of people originally defined Soho in the 70s and 80s in Manhattan and now in Brooklyn, Shoreditch in the millennium years, and in East Berlin over the last decade.”

Lo__32Bottles-1-FinalThis sense of creative displacement is reflected in his work as he has shrugged conventional forms of art preferring unusual methods. He takes sheets of zinc upon which he etches images before exposing them to an acid bath where the state of corrosion produces the amazing colours in his work. No paint is used at all.

Lo__CAUSTICWINDOW3-FinalEmploying the technique popularised by William Burroughs in the 1950s and 60s, his cut-up fragments are used in juxtaposition with other pieces to mimic the visual noise that inhabits our lives through social and mass media. “The motifs found in the works are largely mundane, everyday snippets of experience, discarded product packaging, spam and email offers as well as objects we think we ‘need’ or desire in order to be better people, like new shoes, cigarettes, prescription drugs or lipstick,” he says.

Lo__Dizzy-FinalThe exhibition runs until November 1.