Alex Liros:

Men at work 4: Niger delta

Artist statement

Men at work 4 continues my interest in men and technology, specifically men and the petroleum industry.  Men at work has a long tradition in art.  Photographers continue in this tradition, whether as journalists or artists. In this show I have taken images by photo-journalists working in the oil-rich Niger Delta, Nigeria, and used parts of these images (mostly men, and pipelines, etc.) as collage in a drawn space.  So, to a large extent my show reflects what they photographed: 1) illegal distilling of petroleum, 2) local rebels taking up arms against the oil giants and the Nigerian government, 3) the Nigerian army sent to keep the peace, and 3) extreme pollution, which I found very difficult to represent (just managed one). My previous shows on pipelines consisted of images produced by the oil industry, while this show consists of work by non-industry photo-journalists interested in the social/environmental disruption caused by the oil production activity.

I have changed the rules, so to speak, for this series: I squared off the picture space to tighten the composition and, in a way, to create a slightly theatrical setting; and I have activated the drawing line.   All of these rules are created to focus the narrative of the collage and the drawing.   To activate the piece of paper (usually in very low resolution) I have done two things: worked in various shades of black and white, and changed the colour intensity, as well as exploited printer accidents.  

Drawing sizes: 9’ x 12”

May 2015