Emma Leaper is a creative practitioner currently based in the city of Bristol, UK.
She has always been drawn toward industrial materials in her artistic practice and became increasingly concerned with the reason for this. Research into these materials lead to a wider interest in ‘the synthetic’- as it pertains to physical as well as social structures in the modern world. By definition ‘Synthetic’ refers to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, and it is man as a force of nature, and the progression of man’s modern existence toward an ever more artificial reality which fascinates Leaper.
She constructs situations- landscapes and objects- that are artificially modified into a ‘hyper’ version of their former selves, so a waterfall may be created through projecting the image of falling water onto a reflective surface, or a rock fashioned with foam and concrete until it is indistinguishable from stone.
These environments highlight their own synthetic composition, until the elements which identify the installations as ‘natural’ scenes are so tenuous it forces the viewer to consider what, the ‘real’ version looks like, ultimately conjuring up equally unrealistic, idyllic images.
Leaper’s work is focused on the understanding that the components necessary to make synthetic matter come directly from the earth. They are, by themselves, organic elements, which begs the question, why does society view man-made objects and environments as inferior to that of the natural land? Why do people buy into the idea of nature as rolling fields and crystal blue waters and reject their own reality of high-rises, pavements and vast spaces of commerce?
Leaper espouses the modern philosophical thought that we have entered into a new age dominated by the force of human development, and increasingly, by the agency of non-humans- the objects and technologies society has created.