The Side Effect is a group exhibition of works by artists Donna Marcus and Matthew Hunt. You describe it as looking out from the grotto. I imagine a bright aperture piercing the shadows and revealing a glimpse of urban ruin: car bodies, broken bottles, stained mattresses. The landscape of your memory is roughly hewn, a dirt track engraved by bike wheels and bare feet. Discarded signs litter this panorama, barking code in metal, paper and cardboard: John’s Boat Repairs, Fiery End for Family of Nine, Grisly Find in Unknown Hotspot, African Goods. Some signs are torn, and slur: thrill killer, mists of time, Double Dutch. The dull weight of language is harder to bear in this place. When it’s dusk you can see the suburbs’ dirty glow.
You only remember details of your old street. There’s that bloodstain on the road, this boarded window, the brown brick apartment block haunted by a niggling odour. Your recollection compresses events, places, time. You see speeding shadows slice the houses and for an instant, on an alleyway’s asbestos fence, they trace the silhouette of a man, then an ape, and then melt away. ……………………………………………………………………….
Your grotto has fuzzy boundaries, existing both within and outside of your memory, layered like prosthesis and phantom limb. You speak from beyond the grotto, transmitting coded messages through image, object and text. These things, unleashed, take root in another’s mind, colonising its landscape with alien islands. You are submerged in the grotto, looking out. When you step outside it takes some time before your eyes adjust to the light.
Dr Thea Costantino