fibre-reinforced plastic, coating, high gloss finish
81 x 156 x 70 cm
Agi Chen watched cartoons ‘religiously’ as a child, identifying with the heroes in their shining suits and flowing capes, using their superpowers for the good of mankind. She has invented a humorous visual language in which vivid, startling colour and concentric circles, apparently abstract, tug at the edges of our memory. We are not quite sure why, until perhaps unbidden, a memory of the red and blue of Superman, or the bright, cheerful colours of a Disney cartoon, float to the surface. Chen’s work has been described as ‘reductive’ in that she distils visual phenomena to simplified primary colour sets, decoding and recoding these signs and symbols. She says: ‘Animated cartoons are an abstracted, virtualized reality. As we watch the imagery unfold on screen, our conscious mind focuses on the action of the characters and the progression of the plot; but we are less consciously aware of the iconic colour codes that are integral to these objects of our gaze and consumerist desire. This is because the colours are subsumed within the overall form and structure of the characters; and yet, during the viewing process, these colours are repeated constantly, imprinting themselves on our subconscious mind and forming a kind of latent visual memory code that becomes integrated into the shifting visual landscape of our daily lives.’ This sculpture, apparently partially embedded in the floor, is no exception: the glossy concentric circles of flesh-pink, yellow and mauve are a visual representation of Patrick the pink starfish, a character in the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon.