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CollAge Exhibition Review



CollAge exhibition review


A bizarre menagerie of human-limbed creatures exercising infests Nottingham’s trendy bar, Hockley Arts Club, in a new exhibition CollAge. From a wasp skateboarding, to a bat using a skipping rope, the collaged characters of Manchester-based artist, Keith Bloody Mary, are playfully eclectic and ever-energetic. Part object, part creature, part toned and tanned limbs from the glossy pages of health magazines - each element of the jumbled composition is sourced by the artist from physical magazines, before being reconfigured on a digital canvas. Printed large-scale and mounted on foam-board as pop-ups, the prominently positioned works stand in stark contrast to the swanky decor of their surroundings. With one artwork even propped by the bar as though ordering a drink, visitors might encounter these oddities like a band of creepy impostors. Artist, Keith Bloody Mary is the Frankenstein who created these creatures. The artist, also known as Alice Thickett, goes by a collaged name - an amalgamation of her favourite artist and drink. Like their creator, the characters too are conceived to be deceiving - they are anthropomorphic, androgynous, and equal parts likeable and unsettling. CollAge developed through a collaboration between the artist and Dr Lisa Chakrabarti, a scientist at University of Nottingham, exploring the surprisingly long lifespan of a bat, and whether that is on account of their exercise pattern. To examine the relationship between exercise and ageing, Chakrabarti’s research saw fruit flies undertaking a fitness regime - an idea which, if it did not belong to science, could belong to the world of fiction. CollAge goes beyond illustrating scientific research, to instead show the affinity between science and art in stretching our imaginations and testing ideas. It was a joyful reminder that through daring to experiment, we can uncover more about ourselves and the world around us.


- Laura-Jade Vaughan



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