Fire and Water Andi Dakin Old Parcels Office, Scarborough, 16th – 31st October 2021
Andi Dakin has brought his unusual, offbeat and humorous creativity to Scarborough’s newest artspace, the Old Parcels Office (OPO) at Scarborough railway station. Once upon a time thousands of people every day in the summer would arrive here (the station, not the parcels office) for a good time. Slightly fewer will have had the opportunity to see Andi’s latest exhibition. It’s a pity it’s only been on for a couple of weeks.
The development of the OPO (with which I was briefly involved) has lent itself very well to an artist whose work often responds to the space in which it finds itself. As Andi said “The three fireplaces in the Old Parcel Office have inspired new sculpture for this show.” Those particular pieces suggest something that came down the chimney (and another work does include a chimney sweep’s brush), perhaps uninvited and spilling their contents on the hearth. In the centre of the space the vaunting rooflights play host to cascading ribbons of colour ending in bristles on the floor, suggesting an invasive force in the space, perhaps bearing a science fictive thought of life being borne down from the heavens.
Other forms too suggest invasions, with spiky implications of viral infections – in the current circumstances these might not be seen as benign or humorous but sinister, were it not for their bright colours and almost seaside jollity. The similarity of these jolly forms to the now familiar pictures of the Covid invader suggests that life’s appearances can be deceptive, whatever its origins. These bright, inviting spikey forms could be unwelcome if they got out of control. What if Andi’s work escaped the arts space and took over the town?
Any object can be transformed into a new personality under Andi’s tutelage. An old wheelbarrow with pitchfork legs leans casually against the wall, watering cans embrace in loving kisses, wooden paddles with portholes suggest far-off escapades. Objects are thus conjoined to create new ambiguities, without explanation. The titles of these works rarely shed much light on their meaning, as in ‘Horse,’ ‘Bin’ or ‘Nest.’ Indeed, meaning is in the eye of the beholder, which is exactly as it should be. These conjunctions of objects and materials could almost be accidental but serendipitous at the same time. Diverse things find themselves ‘mated’ with totally unrelated things in a reflection of how ‘things’ collide in reality. We try to explain the fountain of chaos that is this life, and wish to understand it, but at the end of the day perhaps a wheelbarrow with pitchfork legs will have the last laugh.
Andi’s work seems to capture life’s chaos, turning it into something ordered and connected, but then leaving without explanation. Pitch perfect.