Destroy It Yourself is an exploration for a more humane and contemporary society with propositions into the design of new forms for living in a new environment. In this body of work, Holdsworth asks us, “What happened to utopia?”. The images in this exhibition contemplate "models" of utopian design in their state of deterioration. Holdsworth's nostalgically pillages modernity, one that is riddled with decay, entropy, ruin, but yet he finds nourishment from the idea of the bricolage, the implementation "of that which is there," from the concept of recycling. Destroy It Yourself postulates on the outcomes of an exploitative, brutalized society of competition, profit, and fanaticism that have caused the utopia of a humane, enlightened society to collapse. This exhibition calls for us to reflect in order to make something from the void with whatever means remain after the catastrophe.


Holdsworth's art practice presents to us the impacts of the built environment and reflections of the guiding philosophies. To frame it within a broader context, his practice can be seen as participating in an important conceptual movement currently in contemporary art. Holdsworth's practice reflects on architecture and urban planning in which predominantly aesthetic attempts to shape society that have negatively impacted on personal and social relationships.


Through the utilisation of the iconographic and physical properties of architecture Destroy It Yourself explores the aesthetics of landscape - contrasting both the imagined and real. Instead of working across the regular tropes of this thematic, Holdsworth looks at these impacts from an interesting point of difference, as his practice oscillates between the philosophical positions of modernity and post-modernity. Holdsworth acts as a decipher, unpackaging the vestiges of one paradigm (modernism) through the lens of another (post-modernism), he doesn’t provide answers to audiences but rather reflections or alternatives on the present and these diametrically opposed paradigms deconstruct vestiges of our built environment.


Holdsworth's work documents the familiar landscape, one that is left scarred and destitute by the agenda of modernity and without the presence of people. By imposing fragmented architectural forms psychedelically alluding to the International Style of ‘high’ and ‘low’ architecture Holdsworth focuses on what can develop around and in between this architectural framework. In these forms the tensions between theory and practice, art and life are examined through the built environment’s impact. These landscapes and structures portray a larger cultural inertia resulting from centuries of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of post modernity resulting in apathy or negligence for humanity in the built environment.


Holdsworth’s fragments of propositional modernity echo the way that early-modernist utopianism eventually morphed into a series of dystopian projects across the globe. This utopianism reflects upon an ongoing interest into the parallel worlds of science fiction, cyberpunk and post-internet art. All of these cultural edifices, speak to the present as a symptom of the twin birth of immediacy and obsolescence. Holdsworth's images place society and audiences at large as both nostalgists and futurists at the same moment. Through utilising digital technology, and computer generated models from architecture Holdsworth enables us to simultaneously experience and enact events from a multiplicity of positions and cultural understanding. Far from signaling its demise, Holdsworth facilitates the democratization of history, in which illuminating the forking paths for grand narratives that are created for the here and now.



Logan Macdonald

June 2016