Alex Frost: The Connoisseurs
There’s much to sniff out in this multi-faceted collection of classical trash, made manifest here in multiple strands of work. At its centre is one of two title pieces, a flock of giant reproductions of noses that, in their pursuit for olfactory splendour, as with Gogol’s story of the same name, appear to have escaped their bodies and have thrived on the perfume of aesthetic excellence alone.
Surrounding what look like amphibious sloths in imperious repose on a frozen pool are two selections of what Frost dubs ‘Blind Drawings’. The first selection features large-scale portraits constructed by perforating the paper from behind. With each subject’s eyes closed, this really is a case of the blind leading the blind. Opposite are some similarly manoeuvred pixilated works adapted from knitting patterns. These flank a long counter of oven-baked sculptures based on the wrappings of space-age food substitutes. The brand names are unfamiliar, with Frost as much hunter-gatherer as prospective collector of self-styled retro-future detritus.
In the rooms off, Frost’s own silhouette is cast as an ornamental trophy. Even more off-limits is a peek-a-boo opening in an otherwise obscured window which, with its view of a large-scale image of veggie burger wrapping, is mouth-watering relish for the hardiest of curtain-twitching busy-bodies to savour.
Before all this, though, is ‘WiFi swimming pool mural (unfinished)’, a major new piece inspired by ‘outsider’ environments such as ‘The Watts’ Towers’ in Los Angeles, hand-built using discarded junk and found objects. The difference here is that every broken-up tile, stainless steel towel rail and plastic crocodile has been bought online in the virtual global village we all now inhabit.
There’s much being said about personal identity in relation to over-the-counter culture, as Frost crafts something unique out of mass-produced goods. One imagines some latter-day Caligula resting his laptop on his well-pleasured belly while he surfs some toga-party porn in-between excursions to ebay and amazon. As for the connoisseurs themselves, you can see why their well-pleasured nostrils might be permanently flared.
Dundee Contemporary Arts until Sun 23 May