Samara Scott: Developer
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Battersea park’s mirror pools are looking a little queasy. Young English artist Samara Scott has filled the two ponds here with swathes of swirling fabric and an almost stomach-turning array of coloured dyes for what she calls ‘liquid paintings’. One pool is filled with silver sheets and orange dye, the other with nets that drift through hues from blue to green to red. Up close, the works look a little like someone has dumped building materials in the water, but from further back you see shapes and patterns emerge, colours fade and bust – it’s pretty beautiful.
The orange pool doesn’t work as well as the multi-coloured one, but both have a unique visual appeal. They’re a perfect middle ground between littering and art, mess and beauty.
The work as a whole is clever too: Scott has used dyes and chemicals that are designed to block photosynthesis and keep water free from algae. In doing so, she’s referring back to the saltpetre and chemical works that Battersea once thrived on, and the fabrics nod to London’s long-dead textile industries.
So if you want, you can read the work as some sort of critique of the way cities change – how Battersea has gone from industrial heartland to yuppie nirvana – and you can navigate the clever conceptual nooks and crannies that Scott has carved through the whole piece. But you don’t have to: the work is pretty enough to stand on its own. You can just step back and let the whole thing wash over you. Just don’t fall in.