Battersea Park’s Pleasure Gardens Fountains received the Samara Scott treatment this week, the British artist filling the twin waters with coloured dyes and underwater fabric structures.
Developer, opening in the park as part of Pump House Gallery’s year-long programme responding to Battersea Park and the rapidly changing urban landscape of Wandsworth and Nine Elms, brings Scott’s work to the outside world where it feels very much at home. Her pieces — a beautiful mix of appealing and repellant fabrics and fluids — often have a mirror-like quality to them, appearing as pools of washed up debris that, as the artist has previously said, could have come from the floor of a nightclub.
These two pools of water, mirrored themselves one to the other, are a great setting for her work. Their design is culturally unplaceable. The gold flame emblazoned permanent structures that sit at their sides look as though they could have sprung from the front doors of a restaurant in China Town. The large fountain that sits just below them in the park is classically British.
For Developer Scott has filled the pools with biodegradable industrial dyes which tinge the water deep green, blue and red. Long swathes of fabric lie just beneath the surface, organically-shaped enough to seem reminiscent of natural growths in the water, yet also looking not unlike tarpaulins or trawling nets, man-made interventions that promise to swallow up the surrounding water life (we checked, don’t worry, no animals were harmed). The foils and white strips that sit above these structures have a similarly contradictory look to them, creating an appealing aesthetic effect while also calling to mind the lumps of harmful man-made rubbish that cram sea and shore.
The title itself is a double reference, not only to the process of developing photographic images, but also the speedy redevelopment of the surrounding area. As Battersea and Nine Elms sees itself caught up in the never-ending rush to tweak and change our capital, this piece references the mass of coverings and plastics that will sweep in, interrupting the natural shape of things, before changing them for good and departing.
‘Developer’ is showing at the Pleasure Garden Fountains in Battersea Park until 25 September. All images: Samara Scott, Developer, 2016. Mixed media site-specific installation at the Pleasure Garden Fountains in Battersea Park, London. Image courtesy Pump House Gallery. Photo: Eoin Carey