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This article is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May - June 2019.

Cover Story
Alison Wilding, ‘Drone’
Rod Mengham
IN THE ART OF ALISON WILDING, motifs are often chosen in order to be rendered minimal, subjected to a semi­abstracting process that turns the object into a powerfully encrypted meditation on the emergence of form and the disclosure of an idea. It is therefore unsurprising that she should have become fascinated by constructions designed to be secretive about themselves. Stealth bombers and drones in particular have elicited her sustained attention: both attempt to withdraw from the visible signs of the world, to create an effect of dematerialisation, to deny the force of gravity. Wilding’s art is about shape-shifting. She has observed in conversation, ‘I see the drone as a contemporary malignant sprite not unlike Ariel in Shakespeare’s Tempest. I am drawn to the conflicting spectacle of beauty/speed/devastation in all its manifestations.’ The drone embodies the spell of a mechanical efficiency that cloaks its deadly potential. So much of Wilding’s work is about encryption and concealment – the implying of what is hidden. For her, the perception of meaning must always combine looking with sensing – the visible with the virtual image. 

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