Alex Dordoy @ Modern Institute

Preview by Andrew Cattanach | 05 Jan 2012

Alex Dordoy graduated from the Painting and Printmaking department of the Glasgow School of Art back in 2007 and was soon picked up by the Modern Institute, who represent, amongst others, recent Turner Prize winner Martin Boyce. His first solo show with the gallery was in 2009 and was a playful combination of painting and sculpture.

He has since completed a residency at the prestigious, independent art institution De Ateliers in Amsterdam where he lost none of his playfulness. He still makes the same bafflingly intriguing objects that come from an art practice that is neither entirely dependent on ideas or wholly reliant on material concerns.

He’s been making plaster sculptures on which he’s depicted a warped portrait of athlete Caster Semenya, who, after her victory at the 2009 World Championships, was subjected to a gender test. The International Association of Athletics Federations, who carried out the test, was heavily criticised for their handling of the affair.

Like most of Dordoy’s work, these objects are first and foremost materially captivating. They are awkward in shape, with the rough edge of something evidently hand made. But nonetheless, they have this other, not wholly distinct, conceptual element, that reverberates through the work. And just as there will always be a disparity between our sense of gender and the empirical truth of our chromosomes, the physical attributes of Dordoy’s sculptures are likewise not wholly complicit with their subject matter.

Dordoy will also show a series of new paintings. Using images found on the internet, he makes a collage on Photoshop before painting onto canvas. Landscape in format, he sees them as odd dreamscapes that reference online conspiracy theories, including one that claims aeroplanes are depositing toxic chemicals in the atmosphere. Why they might be doing this, no one knows. [Andrew Cattanach]

The Modern Institute, 14 Jan - 22 Feb, free