Alex Dordoy: persistencebeatsresistance 

19 January - 23 March 2014. Tues - Sun, 10am – 5.30pm

Inverleith House is delighted to launch its 2014 exhibitions programme with a major solo exhibition by Alex Dordoy (b.1985, Newcastle-upon-Tyne), his first in a UK public gallery. Made for Inverleith House, all of the works in persistencebeatsresistance are being exhibited for the first time: paintings, sculptural plinths, cast objects and large wall drawings have been installed by the artist throughout the gallery in its seven ground and first–floor rooms.

Installation views, Alex Dordoy: persistencebeatsresistance, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2014. Images Ruth Clark.


 Press Release

 Alex Dordoy’s working methods embrace both skilled craft and high technology, co-opting processes which reference and perform the process of mechanical reproduction. His sculptures are cast and moulded using materials such as plaster, silicone and Jesmonite – an acrylic resin similar to (but more durable than) plaster. These materials form a base upon which arrangements of paint, coloured pigment, patterns, motifs and toner transfers of digitally manipulated photographs are applied in multiple layers of reference, symbolism and association.

persistencebeatsresistance pivots around two sculptural propositions: a diminutive totem pole made from a bust of the revolutionary socialist Karl Marx; and the remnants of dismembered photocopying machine.

In rooms 1 and 3 of the ground floor, three silicone ‘skins’ hang like tapestries on the gallery walls. Cast from the individual components of a dissected (Dialta) photocopier, they have been created by pouring pigmented silicone over the machine’s internal parts. Hanging limply, their solid yet delicate mass has a certain organic, raw quality captured from within this fragment of lifeless office furniture. Nearby, vertical columnar sculptures made from cast Jesmonite, entitled Congsumers, support relics from the flayed machine itself such as its copyboard and scanner lens: this tool of cheap and ready reproduction has been mined by Dordoy for its symbolic properties – acting out mimicry through its repetition.

Dordoy’s Congsumers have the formal qualities of plinths yet they are highly decorated and embellished with richly coloured transfers. They do not support objects, but rather appear to be in the process of absorbing or engulfing them. Their sides support ornamentation derived from markings found on ancient Chinese burial objects called 'congs', whose original purpose was to contain the souls of the dead. Dordoy combines these motifs with snapshots taken in the French countryside and computer screen grabs which have been skewed, warped and distorted using the image manipulation programme Photoshop. Elsewhere, patterns have been borrowed and reappropriated from sources ranging from the Alhambra in Granada to consumer goods and advertising – simultaneously evoking the spiritual and the commonplace.

Facing out to the Graden in the central ground-floor room is the plaster totem of Karl Marx ‘heads’. Taken from a wooden bust of Marx (1818–1883) hand-carved by Dordoy’s father, the totem is a playful homage to both Marx and his father. Depicted as a totem, Marx is put forward as a talismanic figure of worship, whilst the ironic repetition of his form draws attention to the material qualities of the object itself, subtly (and mischievously) undermining the great philosopher and economist’s principals.

Upstairs, in the first-floor rooms, Dordoy uses large sheets of Polycarbonate (often used in greenhouses) in a series of bold gestures that apprehend the ground floor’s lighter touch. In room 4 the material itself becomes the subject whilst in room 6 it supports a coloured cast of the artist’s jeans, moulded in Silicone. Backlit with fluorescent light, this material again takes centre stage in room 7 – opposite one of Dordoy’s small painted panels which appear in the exhibition’s last three rooms, Turtles, a poetic love story 2 (2014).


Artist Biography

Alex Dordoy (b. 1985, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Lives and works in London) studied at De Ateliers, Amsterdam (2009 – 2011), California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles (2005) and Glasgow School of Art (2003 – 2007). In 2013 he presented solo exhibitions Caster and Krast Crack Autumn, GRIMM, Amsterdam, and at ReMap4, Athens and in 2012 he presented solo exhibitions at Christian Andersen, Copenhagen, and The Modern Institute, Glasgow. Group exhibitions include DOES THE IT FIT, curated by Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, CIRCA Projects, Newcastle, A House Leaves: Second Movement, David Roberts Art Foundation, London (both 2013), and Recent British Painting, curated by Tom Morton, GRIMM, Amsterdam (2012). In 2014 he will present solo exhibition De Ateliers Debuut Serie at Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag.

With special thanks to: Alex Dordoy and Toby Webster. Alex Dordoy is represented by The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow and Grimm, Amsterdam.


Events Programme

March 2014
Herbarium Tour with Alex Dordoy, Lorna Glancy and Adele Smith

Friday 14 March, 2 – 3pm

Join the artist and the Herbarium Staff as they discuss the diversity and significance of the Garden’s collection of almost 3 million plant specimens.
Part of the Herbarium Building’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2014.

Herbarium Specimen and Botanical Teaching Model. Collection of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Library Archive.

Alex Dordoy and Tom Morton In Conversation

Saturday 15 March, 3 – 4pm

Join the artist as he discusses persistencebeatsresistance with writer, independent curator, and Contributing Editor of frieze magazine, Tom Morton.


Alex Dordoy : persistencebeatsresistance from arts-news on Vimeo.

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)