Ginny on Frederick, London

Alex Margo Arden

For Art-o-rama 2023, Ginny on Frederick presents a new installation of works by Alex Margo Arden.


Alex Margo Arden is a multidisciplinary artist from London and her work excavates theatrical models of production and interpretation. Her practice considers questionable authority through performances, installation, odour and painting, with works often governed by the preset programming of lighting sequences, soundscapes, and aroma dispensers. Exploring the sensory potential of re-materialising digital content (viral videos, images and memes) and re-contextualising material which audiences may have previously witnessed (oversaturated popular figures and historicised iconography), the work arouses inconsistency, or a misinformation effect. These generative processes of reproduction and reinterpretation create trails of conflating and contradictory information, building a web of fabricated truths and false lies, and reinforcing an overarching fear of forgetting.


In her work, subtle transformations occur through recreation – a photograph may be remade as a painting, a location may be restaged with a backcloth, or a collection of objects may be reassembled – these performances of making are reenactments to interrogate identification, ownership and the processes of their own creation. Disappearances and reappearances become key strategies to challenge perception and presence – failure to appear is invoked and there are often missing performers present: objects and people ghost through the leftovers (pieces of popcorn, strands of hair, particles of smell).


In the work, Responsibility, Responsibility, Responsibility (2023) a single word is repeated three times across three walls, folding around the space forming a triad of reduplication. Words are often repeated three times to emphasise the urgency, the importance and to acknowledge the situation. As a rhetorical device, epizeuxis is utilised here to create an emotional appeal, to motivate the audience. The word has a vehemence and could serve as a rallying cry. The word emerges as gloss vinyl on the matte white gallery walls and therefore straddles a tension of visibility and invisibility, it attempts to the reflect light to encourage its own discernibility, while also hiding in plain sight.


Arden has been researching moments of accidental inconsistency, scandal and bleeding between the fictional and the real within the production, rehearsal and presentation of Hollywood films. Material produced and distributed by law enforcement is revisited by Arden. The images content is staged in nature and some of the images have been subtle reconfigured or digitally manipulated, the cut-off cuff of a T-shirt is re-rendered where the frame of the photograph misses it, a prop gun is re-compressed into a cardboard box and also the frame of the painting changes the props proportions tactfully to accommodate it – with a delicate precision while remaining so almost true to the digital image it replicates, the resulting images are difficult to analyse or describe in their difference as they appear almost exactly as the originals they reproduce.


Considering the handling of responsibility, response, unanswered questions and concern. In remaking or overwriting digital photographs as oil paintings their compositions, content and the nuances of their meaning are re-drawn, re-posed and re-presented as new evidence. The interpretation of legal evidence made and owned by law enforcement as artistic imagery, adding layers of critique of the images construction and the decisions made to pose and stage the evidence. The oil paintings are overlaid on the supporting structure bearing the three-word work and allow for reexamination, reconstructive processes, and further reenactment in relation to the crime scene.