Galerie Paris-Beijing presents The Journey, the most recent and unseen project of Australian artist Alex Seton, which explores the international issue of asylum seekers. While the artist investigates the complex relationships between form and substance through different artistic practices such as photography, video, sculpture and installation, he is best known for his beguiling marble carving to which he applies his refined craftsmanship in order to create unexpected and light forms, ordinary and yet highly symbolic.
By infusing the rich heritage of Classical statuary with contemporary concerns, Seton gives weight to the issues we face here and now. The new body of works incorporates installations and Carrara marble sculptures alluding to the perilous sea journey of millions of people fleeing war and famine. A boat motor, a rubber dinghy, a life jacket, a paddle or an anchor become potent reminders of all those individual lives being risked everyday in the hope of a better tomorrow.
The Journey unpicks the universal elements of the story of aspiration employing narrative techniques. The idea of the quest or journey has long been embodied in the structure of storytelling traditions, as basic and fundamental themes that express the commonality of the human experience. At the heart of metaphor of the hero’s journey are a series of trials and tribulations that must be endured to reach an end goal. This exhibition is a critical contemplation of this universal narrative, expressed in a carefully staged sequence of carved marble sculptures and installations. Alex Seton’s scenography leads the viewer through the spaces of Galerie Paris-Beijing in a metaphoric “Odyssey” of human pains and hopes.
Alex Seton was born in 1977 in Sydney, where he currently lives and works. His work has been exhibited extensively in Australia, in Asia, in Europe and in the United States, in museums, galleries and contemporary art fairs. His work has also been included in prestigious private and public collections. Seton first explored the theme of immigration in 2013 with his work Someone died trying to have a life like mine, a large scale installation created for the Adelaide Biennial Dark Heart, Art Gallery of South Australia (Adelaide, 2014) which dealt specifically with the Australian experience, pushing back against the hardline policies of the current Australian political landscape. The Journey is Seton’s first look at these issues on a universal level and highlights the struggles which are common to all people and all nations.