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'Take The Day Out In Baskets', Group Show at St. Chads, London

Living at the end of the country means filling up slowly with zilch

At seventeen just peeking over the edge, I was led down to the beach and warmed- over coals. Popcorn clouds: the same marshmallow texture of the skin of the man who sells me tires. The same one who sits on the billboard, and who sweats behind a till, smelling like carpet underlay. The one who holds me round my neck. Do you end up face down in pale lilac gorse? Do you end up face down in a pile of suffocating grains?
Robin bloody with the chest of its victims!
The industrial estate shaped church. The industrial estate shaped like a church. The industrial estate with the orange rimmed church, and all the bodies lying in state like a reflex. The avenues of new builds crop up overnight; the houses making furry light, polystyrene-feeling mushrooms on the roadside. These are villages inside villages, named after the landscapes that were cleared for their making – Acorn Blue, Lindford Forest, Barret Grove.
I am praying towards the Artex below the old and empty ceiling
Something for nothing. Kneeling on a threadbare carpet, in one of these new-old council houses. A red light swinging over brine waves through the window – seaside poverty has its own smell, black and white, simple like old Pyrex. In avenues of next doors, babies colour everything, rouge smudges on their cheeks. A sodden cheerio on the floor, the noise of a soft frog landing. A Wendy house made from earth and concern, a crude hole in the roof for an idea of smoke. Toys surround in plasticity, rocking horses, adverts, Beanie Babies, fire kit on the corridor wall for the next tenants, hand me down tobacco tin, small soldier figurine, a pint glass (dried liquid in the bottom), saucepan you have saved for boiling one-pound hot dog sausages on the stove, after a night shift.
Take the day out in baskets
Here, I feel myself banging up against the limitations of my own mind, like a frog in a box. The plants in the roadside are in tantrums with the rubbish. A tangle of plastic wrap into leaf. I saw my name repeated, in your dream journal. The sleeping pillow yellow, and the painting over head; contested dome and boundaries of earth, charred remains kept away from the houses. If and when I leave, the dark field obscures me, but I’ll be waving hello. Someone takes in night air settling on a purple field. There she goes walking, see her move as a virus, altering preposterously, sun dappled scenery.

— Rachael Allen, frog in a box

18.9.22 — 16.10.22

Rachael Allen, Edmond Brooks-Beckman, Tom Bull, Ben Westley Clarke

Photo by Ben Westoby

St. Chads


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