Tied to Everything Else, Paradise Works, Salford, 29 April - 27 May 2023
An exhibition by Chris Alton, curated by Will Marshall
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe” John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911
Tied to Everything Else brings together an array of artworks produced by Chris Alton over the last 7 years, which address the climate crisis in some way. This body of works includes; textile banners, videos, a typeface, drawings, posters, and a publication.
Whilst this exhibition's overarching concern is the climate crisis, Chris's works also address other phenomena to which the climate crisis is tied, including; Britain's colonial history, neoliberal capitalism, tax avoidance, nuclear infrastructure, deluge myths, extreme weather, extinction, and migration, amongst others. Exploration of such connections and interdependencies are common throughout his practice; and this exhibition draws out these overlaps.
Many of these concerns stem from Chris's Quaker upbringing, which brought him into contact with people working towards a more just world at an early age. Since the age of 13 he has contributed to anti-nuclear and anti-arms campaigns, and he began participating in climate protests at the age of 16. However, Chris is reluctant to describe his artworks as a form of activism. Whilst their content is often overtly political, he is wary of overstating their immediate efficacy; particularly when faced with a cause as urgent and all encompassing as the climate crisis.
He has come to think of art (making, exhibiting, and encountering) as a space where this transformative work can take place. Art provides space for curiosity, learning, and critical thinking. Chris hopes that such spaces* might precipitate slow changes by providing nourishment and offering ideas, which subtly shift our perception of and relationship to the living planet. We need spaces to articulate alternative futures and to sow seeds that will feed us in the world to come.
*These spaces are not exclusively artworks or galleries; art does not hold a nourishment-monopoly. Chris has found such nourishment in novels, documentaries, walks, growing tomatoes, and attending Quaker meeting.
View the exhibition handout here and the diagram here
The publication and limited edition print are available from my shop
An associated interview for Castlefield Gallery’s Spotlight: Artists and Sustainability series can be read here
Paradise Works, Salford
Arts Council England