Alan Magee explores the notion of human agency in our pre-built environment: how people may take hold of that material world and reform it to their own specifications, needs, and desires.
His concerns are about empowerment and the questioning of received wisdom. A recent project has seen Magee working with residents in a housing estate in London, where he offered his services as an artist in an open ended way. Residents asked Magee to help in diverse ways, from creating drawings for a child, to fixing a broken remote control toy.
Magee’s practice en- compasses drawings, installation and video work. He also re-engineers DIY furniture from shops such as Argos into functionless but poised and elegant sculptural
works: one dramatic incarnation of his inventive sculptural imagination is given in a circular structure built from cheap wooden clothes horses. Magee’s interest in wood is connected with its familiarity and its seemingly endless recyclability: when a wooden object’s initial use is over, the fibres can be torn apart and glued back together into new implements, furnishings or art works.
Text by Colin Perry 2011