My recent work builds upon my last exhibition at Gow Langsford Gallery in which I investigated aspects of evolution, domination and extinction. In A Sound of Thunder, I develop the complexities of personal experience, popular culture and political-economic systems.
The title of the exhibition pays homage to Ray Bradbury’s science fiction short story first published in 1952, in which he describes the present reality of a fascist uprising in 2055, contrasted with the possibility of time-travel to hunt for extinct species such as dinosaurs. I am fascinated by the story’s premise that the death of a butterfly (discovered crushed on the protagonist’s boot on his return from a prehistoric safari) sets in motion a series of subtle changes that have drastic implications in the future.
I draw upon these ideas creating a group of human-sized dinosaurs in polished stainless steel. Deliberately just larger than the viewer, their scale humanizes these terrifying beasts. You can look into their faces, which, despite being devoid of specific features, portray personality and vulnerability. I want the viewer to be both attracted and repelled by their gleaming surface which mirrors back to us our own position in a world where individual action is often not seen as holding power or influence.
“Who would win,” my four-year-old son asks, “The T.Rex or the Stegosaurus?” This question echoes Eckels dilemma when confronted with a real Tyrannosaurus Rex in the book, and in turn our own personal confrontation of what actions to take and what consequence these may have in the future. Could the flap of a butterfly’s wing eventually have a far-reaching ripple effect on subsequent historic events? It is through a juxtaposition of ideas and material that I seek to create an environment to surprise and engage the viewer.
The dinosaurs walk between geometric rocks painted in bright artificial colours like warning beacons their alluring and toxic colour does not belong to nature. So too the wall forms which appear like crystals yet their pulsating colour beacons like a neon sign. Only with close viewing do the argon gas loops begin to reverberate Edward Lorenz’s strange attractor diagrams. It is my aim that the components in the exhibition move through space and time to set up conditions that will always change.
Artist Statement, Gregor Kregar, 2017