Stuart Haygarth. Strand











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British artist and designer Stuart Haygarth gathers discarded or overlooked objects and elevates them into art. He makes exquisite designs and stunning installations out of common detritus and everyday waste. Yet his work is as much about the process of collecting and collating materials as it is the creation of value or beauty. For Strand – the Old English and Old German word for ‘beach’ – he walked the entire length of the English south coast, from Gravesend to Land’s End, picking up hundreds of man-made items left washed up on the shore. Combs, lighters and baby dolls, plastic balls, toys, containers and shoes were just some of the many objects he gathered on the 450-mile trip. Back in the studio, he categorized every item by type and colour before arranging them into precise compositions and photographing them. Displaying the formal rigour of the designer and the aesthetic eye of the artist, the resulting images seduce with their beauty and visual immediacy. The objects form an archive of sorts, a fragmented narrative of unknown people’s lives, as well as a material document of Haygarth’s journey. But his beautiful pictures tell another tale too: the story of our reckless pollution of the environment, for each of these manufactured objects has been thrown away and then carried by the world’s oceans and seas. They are the flotsam and jetsam of daily life.