Under the title of Post-Plastic, I explore and reassess our relationship with our environment. I attempt to highlight how materials we create to make our lives easier are impacting our physical and mental health. Plastic, originally applauded as a cheap saviour of humanity has turned out to be our number one pollutant, its toxic contents seeping into every pore of our existence.
Using inflatable objects as my starting point, I explore what plastic means for our society in the long run. Armed with a collection of other peoples’ “pool party trash”, discarded pool toys such as balls, lilos, armbands, and rings, I use these objects by applying art processes directly to them, capturing forms that could be termed “post plastic”.
My ongoing fascination with inflatable objects either used as toys or swimming aids conjures images of happy family summer days by the pool. Added these may evoke tragic migrant journeys towards a better life and the associated cost of living. These notions are immortalized through processes applied to the original object and in this manner the works speak more loosely of time and transformation.
Thus the prints and sculptures attempt to record the darker side of the plastic inflatable. Originally associated with safe family fun, the process I apply turns the idea of the inflatable inside out. By casting the object in concrete, it becomes devoid of warmth and despite its tactile shape, it is far from safe. This creates a sense of the uncanny, imbuing an ordinary object with emotive power. Thus the work can be understood to stand in for people. The sculptural surfaces bear witness to ruination, conveying the notion of the last breath. In this way, the series speaks of the process of deconstruction, of lives post a traumatic event.
Elgin Rust received her MFA with distinction from the University of Cape Town in 2010 and has since pursued an oeuvre which includes printmaking, sculpture and performative installations in self-motivated and collaborative work. Her practice focuses on the transformative processes of material which unpacks issues of social concern from judicial structures to the effects of plastics. Rust has participated in solo, group and collaborative exhibitions locally and internationally. Most recently her work was part of the POINTS 4 International Exhibition for Visual Arts hosted by VAS virtual art space in Alexandria, Egypt. Her work is in the Ellerman House Contemporary Art Collection, Sanlam Collection and UCT Works of Art Collection, Cape Town, ZA. Elgin is a long-standing member of Artcollab studio working on collaborative projects from Karoo Disclosure (2014) to Ubambane/Unity (2021).
Web site: http://www.elginrust.com