Ackroyd and Harvey’s Stranded as well as Polar Diamond and the first UK showing of The Ecocide Trials are now on show at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre until 16th January. A 6m long Minke whale skeleton encrusted with ice-like alum crystals, Stranded recalls very vividly Shoal the 2011 edition that Ackroyd and Harvey made for The Multiple Store and that is now nearly sold out.
Shoal comprises 30 small fish skeletons, each one unique and individually encrusted with a growth of alum crystals. The fish skeletons are stripped, prepared and de-greased, forming crystals around the fish bones after placement in a hot chemical solution. As it cools down, alum crystals start to form and attach themselves to the bones, effectively embalming them.
Much of our work concentrates on organic processes of germination and growth. When asked to produce an exhibition in Western Australia in 1994, thoughts of evaporation and crystalline deposits came to mind and it was here we did our first experiments with simple salt crystals. The exquisite formation and yet mathematical simplicity of crystal structure then started to influence our working practice and has featured in a series of sculptural works.
Shoal is also a reflection on the changing chemical balance of the oceans as the upper level of seawater absorbs increasing levels of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere.