Excavation is a new exhibition by artist Hamish Young, comprising carved marble sculptures and a series of screen prints made with the residual marble dust, developed as part of Satellites Programme 2016. Hamish often makes works that revolve around one material – its process of production, materiality and relationships to labour. Previous installations have used sculpture, video and sound to depict interweaving stories of people and matter: from an exploration of the history of a piece of Black Coral, in which three voices recount its journey from Papua New Guinea, to a mediation on the manufacture of China Clay in the southwest of England from the early 1900s.
This new exhibition Excavation, builds on research into the marble quarries located in Carrara, Tuscany, well known for the extraction of white and blue-grey marble and a parallel history of workers involved in the formation of the anarchist movement. The marble forms both the form and content of Excavation. Hamish was drawn to Carrara because of how the marble dominates its environment not just through the dramatic quarries and marble dust roads but also how marble has shaped the history, economy and culture of the area. Found materials and publications frequently appear in Hamish’s work. In this instance, a series of postcards discovered in Carrara are used to produce screen prints where image and material disintegrate. An image of the quarry emerges, punctuated by workers, from the marble-dusted surface and displays the vast scale of excavation on site and a landscape shaped by industry. The carved sculptures are produced using the Statuario variety of marble, prised for its solid white surface. Objects such as a hand clasping a stone are carved in one-to-one scale. Inspired by studies Hamish observed in Carrara, the works reflect on the reductive carving process and the body as a knowing entity – ‘a thinking hand’, to use a term employed by architect Juhani Pallasmaa, bringing together tacit and explicit knowledges.
Hamish Young works in Edinburgh and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. Recent exhibitions include Re-inscribe, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, 2016; setBackground, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, 2016; RSA New Contemporaries, Edinburgh, 2016; New Scottish Artists, The Fleming Collection, DRAF Studio, London, 2016; and Entente, Hotel Elephant, London, 2015. He was a recipient of the Edinburgh Visual Arts Award, 2016; Timespan Graduate Fellowship, 2016; and the Helen A. Rose Bequest Prize, 2015.