Alternative Con/Struct

South African designer/artist Justin Plunkett questions marketing-induced aspirations and perceived value in his first solo exhibition at The Cabinet.

Justin Plunkett is a South African designer whose products have been exhibited in New York, Miami, Dubai and Basel. For his inaugural solo gallery exhibition, Plunkett has created an intriguing and imagined urban landscapes series that has grown out of  20 years of absorbing his experiences in design and advertising while working for both global brands and local non-profit organisations.

Coming face to face with the realities of how marketing and media images have shaped architecture and lifestyle in absurd and often disturbing ways, he was inspired to push and twist these concepts and explore the themes of empowerment and imagination in Con/Struct.

Using his own photographs, he has created new juxtaposed environments that encourage questioning and exploration: inviting the debate around how marketing-induced aspiration and perceived value can empower but can also corrupt, how it can be both perverse and create beauty. He examines how Western icons like cathedrals, shopping malls and amusement parks, which may be taken for granted, are in factnot everyone’s reality, yet they're held aloft as inspirational, even if they are unattainable. At the same time he also honours and applauds ingenuity and the creative spirit.

The perversity of these eerie compositions makes us question the absurdity of these situations, as well as admire the personal empowerment and relentless creativity that rises from global dreams.

Con/Struct runs until 30 May 2014 at The Cabinet gallery, Cape Town.