‘Where it Stops’ Exhibition


When she was growing up, like many young girls, April Young was captivated by horses. Unlike most though, her yearning to have one reached obsessive levels, peaking at the low point of her parents’ divorce, when he family split and she moved with her mother and sister into a council flat. After spending some time gazing through the net curtains and playing on the nearby waste ground where some gypsy horses were tethered, she was moved, at the age of 11, to visit the Town Planning section of the local council, to attempt to investigate how this worked. She identified the owners of the plot of wasteland as Steetly, a local quarry, to whom she offered a modest amount of pocket money to keep a horse. Having been laughed out of the manager’s portocabin, yet still undeterred, she found a local ad for a ‘pony on loan.’ And so it was that on a Sunday afternoon, a large horse transporter pulled up in a council estate and unloaded a flesh and blood horse, much to the delight of a pre-adolescent child, for an all too brief episode of extreme wish fulfilment.

In order to explore these themes of adolescence, turmoil and aspiration, Young chose the Carousel. Throughout this body of work, the complexity of those anxious formative years works itself into layers which seem to become increasingly complex and elaborate, mirroring the twists and turns of a developing mindset. Aesthetic tension arises from juxtapositioning the elements of strength and fragility that come with formative phases of life, whether in adolescence or beyond. As an icon, the Carousel horse, whilst at the same time promising freedom with its cheerful abandon, is perpetually following the ups and downs, the stop-start circular motion of a life which is often externally controlled, just as the Carousel, by the push of a button.

Look closely at the surface of the horses, and you will see the council flats, and the partly formed, or possibly partly disintegrating, elaborate armour of identity. Images play with the contrast between high and low status, without judging either. The domestic interior of the council flat is imprinted in the surfaces with the lacy net curtain, a nostalgic interface between internal and external worlds


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The Anvil

18 Sadler Gate