Life-styled surfaces – Strata Tiles at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015

Conceptual artist Alana Madden has installed a series of ‘personas’ in Strata Tiles‘ Clerkenwell showroom this week. Located in the basement of the showroom, the three “shrines” are made from piles of concrete, marble and ceramic, each one built into a personal portrait using a handful of lifestyle accessories.

Called Everybody’s Free, the exhibition sets out to explore what makes our homes into personal spaces, and how we define anything as a personal space. It also shows how quickly we as viewers can paint a picture of a character from the simplest of ingredients: a bag of chia seeds, stack of thoughtful books and miniature watering can gives one portrait a health-focused, pastoral air; while a gentleman’s comb, round spectacles and takeaway Starbucks cup create a more dandified atmosphere.

The final shrine pairs a mint green Chanel nail polish, bottle of Fiji water, and a plastic pill box with its contents spilling out. It’s interesting to note how quickly gender is suggested by these objects, as well as social class and personal taste.

The final part of the exhibition is situated in a darkened space in one corner of the showroom, where Madden has painted white outlines of an archetypal living room – sofa, table, wall clock – onto black tiled walls.

A series of basic brushstrokes create an image that is instantly recognisable as “a home”, prompting visitors to question how homogenous many living spaces are.

– Sarah Housley

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