It is a strange atmosphere on this particular Friday evening in the Cell Project Space, there is a feeling of disconnection, visitors to the private view are either pacing around the selected works with a look of mild confusion or talking animatedly to their companions, the two states are difficult to accept. I look around the room and this atmosphere is affecting me, the bizarre thing is that despite my own sense of disconnection with the other art viewers and with the work on show I am not as unsettled as I imagine I should be.
A rolling programme of exhibitions that intends to travel the world has now arrived in London, the origins of the show ‘Circuit Diagram’ began in Seoul, Korea and Japan when two curators began to chart the intersections where previously assumed disparate connections between their parts of the art world met. Differing works perhaps stylistically far apart were seen as closer due to the connections between the artists, these connections were developed and explored further and the project increased momentum as the artists were invited to show their work together. Some of the original participants are evident here tonight in London and via Cell’s curator Richard Priestley new connections from London add a further strand to the project and exert their influence. ‘Circuit Diagram’ will move on to France, Germany, China and then return to Japan and Korea.
So what of London and this evenings disconnection, the work on show is a variety of media and runs stylistically from ‘minimal’ to ‘worked to confusion’. Interestingly the show does not intend and succeeds in removing any stylistic hierarchy, my eye is attracted to those pieces that are normally to my taste but once I have viewed all the works I am drawn to those that did not immediately capture my attention. Are the connections drawing their own patterns? In some subconscious way are the connections revealing themselves to me?, it feels as if an unseen force is drawing me to one work and then, passing others without a glance, forcing me to another piece at the other side of the room. Some pieces appeal more than others such as Manya Kato’s ‘everywhere’ which consists of two bolts standing on a shelf, the bolts appear to be the functional objects we would all recognise, however, the thread does not run true, it is a series of isolated rings that never connect to the others.
In the darkened back room is Lee Yong Baeck’s video, on the screen is a multicoloured background of a psychedelic combat pattern, it is eye blending to look at, some time later your eye is drawn to slight movement as a procession of figures clad in the same patterned psychedelic combat clothing move stealthily across the screen. Blink and you might miss it, however if you don’t blink you may still miss it for the watery eyes the pattern induces, then again, that may have more to do with my inadequate eyesight!.
Back in the other room I am attracted by Nobuyuki Takahashi’s bundle of irregularly tied denim offcuts, looking like some denim clad blob of an unspeakable creature. Stuffed and bound and sewn together it is also reminiscent of mutilated human parts amalgamated and stitched together in a Frankenstein like memorial. Possibly this is just a wry look at fashion culture, perhaps Takahashi was creating a memorial to the perrenial fashion victim.
The final piece that entrances me before my departure from the gallery is Yoshihide Tominaga’s ‘Extreme Performance’, high above me mounted on the wall is the remnants of a Apple Mac printer package, set with an appropriate space between the right section and the left section are the familiar white polystyrene ‘brackets’ that once held the product safe for its journey to the point of sale and onward to its purchasers home. The polystyrene remnants are intact but on the face of the packaging a script can be seen, I do not understand the inscription but even without knowledge of the language the material effect of the work still engages me.
Across the World and even within the small areas of cities where artists and curators live and work networks are created and some are lost, relationships between people and their work start and end. As time passes our professional and social networks collide, cross paths or change direction to and from other influences. The developments within these processes form the diversity of art around the world, we are used to seeing art and artists connected in galleries by the similarities of their work or the convergence of their preoccupations and ideas, however a community of artists creates a diversity of work and occasionally a view into this huge diverse language can be a fascinating insight into what our definition of ‘community’ is and could be