Imagine one of those time-lapse videos from a nature show: clouds swirling past at Mach speed, tides ebbing, fruit rotting. And keep it in your imagination, because that’s where young English artist Hamish Pearch’s art happens – behind closed eyes, in the unconscious, in the dark night-time spaces we’ve all seen but can’t grasp.
Stacks of charred, blackened toast dot the floor of the gallery, drooping daisies growing out of them. Huge pale mushrooms lie on stacks of paper or grow in the dark recesses of the room. Look up and you see the wall is corrugated iron. You’re in some anonymous storage unit, lit only by security-guard torches. Mini industrial units sit on the ground. There’s a tiny barn in one, a projection of images of fireworks in another. A sculpture of a sleeping receptionist faces it all. She’s dreaming of a gas station which has coalesced into a model of itself, spurting out of her head. It’s like walking in on a scene mid-time-lapse, with all this secret, festering stuff frozen in the moment.
It’s eerie, stark, surreal, and brutally suburban, like Giorgio de Chirico in Slough. Pearch’s world is one where our ideas, memories and knowledge are stored away in boxes in lock-ups, left to decay on industrial estates that no one visits. All this humanity is left to grow slowly mouldy.
Exploring all the dark, forgotten, empty places where we dump our crap, Pearch’s art is a psychological trip through the English subconscious, the mundanity of everyday life and the things we hide from the world. It’s unsettling because he makes you so aware of just how deep the rot has gone.