For the past four decades, British artist Nicola Hicks’ practice has addressed the universal, and often darker aspects of humanity, using contemporary allegory to critique our social systems.
Dump Circus is a large-scale installation imagining an urban wasteland where the natural world has been ravaged and suffocated by debris and greed. Within this scene, a cast of wild and domestic creatures have bested their ringmaster.
Upturning the anthropocentric perspective of the circus act, the animals appear to be adapting to the urban habitat on their own terms. Appropriating discarded human objects, and balancing precariously on pallets, a fridge and gigantic rubber tyres, their triumphant gestures amongst the remains of the city reflect both a horrifying account of human havoc on the planet and hopeful speculation on the irrepressible endurance of the natural world.
A series of works on paper, recalling the exuberant designs of circus posters, introduce the characters performing in the surrounding tableau. Their multi-layered construction communicates a sense of urgency, alongside defiant slogans calling for change in works such as Keep Up, Get Up, and the enigmatically playful, Now.