Alice Anderson studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London and currently lives and works in London. Her driven practice is an exploration of memory in the context of the digital world via Cor-ten and thread sculptures, drawings and performances.
For the last ten years the essence of Anderson’s work has been to explore the physical and the physiological mutations that the current world transformations are going to get us through. The artist has her own way of memorising objects and architectures by printing them with her movements. It is, in that sense, practical, not nostalgic. Anderson contrasts that with the ‘outsourcing’ of memory by digital processes.
Anderson retransforms virtual data into tactile forms to recreate a new physical relationship with objects and spaces through ritual performances. As in her words, “I always worry to break or lose an object, therefore I have established rules: When one of the objects around me is likely to become obsolete or is lost in stream of our lives, I ‘memorise’ it with thread before it happens, If an object breaks, I have to encapsulate it in steel, I leave it outside for few weeks until it rusts, then I perform a ritual and when the dance is over, everything is repaired. The broken relation is healed’”.
Those actions typically combine primitive and modern, strong and vulnerable, one-off chance and ritual repetition. Consequently, what may appear autobiographical is actually mythic and complex. We might call the result POST-DIGITAL. Certainly it is informed – indeed, troubled – by knowledge of the digital alternative, and goes beyond it to seek new haptic relationships between people and the physical world. Anderson’s post-digital rituals give us a directness of engagement which a photo in a file cannot. Yet her practice might also be seen, taken as a whole, to be mourning the loss of the pre-digital world, to yearn for the times when rituals were charged with maximum power and objects were restricted to their original selves.
Anderson’s drawings, like her sculptures, are the result of ritual performances. The Nocturnal Drawings ‘mark’ her gestures with thread as she dances around a sheet of paper, unspooling a bobbin of thread which she has placed in a ceramic jar. It’s very much a whole body performance. The results are delicately geometric traces of movements performed in the silence of night, when the tinkling musicality of the thread’s unspooling can be heard as rhythm becomes shape. Anderson stops “As soon as dizziness takes place. I immediately cut the thread”. The drawings are influenced by where they are made, as well as how: switching for example to a different size of paper changes the span of Anderson’s movements with radical consequences for the outcomes. (Paul Carey-Kent / Post Digital)
Selected solo presentation include Alice Anderson at Eiffel Historical Building, permanent sculptures 2016, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, ‘Alice Anderson: Data Space’, Paris, 2015; Wellcome Collection, ‘Alice Anderson: Memory Movement Memory Objects’, London, 2014; Whitechapel Art Gallery, ‘Travelling Studio’, London, 2012 and Freud Museum, ‘Alice Anderson’s Rituals’, London, 2011.