Sunday, October 29, 2006

Autumn Selection

Radio Rebelde's Sounds of Now and Not Quite Now-Autumn 2006

1.Travis Biggs-Tibetan Serenity (2005 VA- 'New Thing!', Soul Jazz Records)
2.Zero dB-Bongos, Bleeps & Basslines (2006 'Bongos, Bleeps & Basslines', Ninja Tune/Fluid Ounce Records)
3.Mike James Kirkland-Hang On In There (1999 VA-Stand Up And Be Counted', Harmless)
4.Thom Yorke-Black Swan (2006 'The Eraser', XL Recrodings)
5.Boards Of Canada-Dayvan Cowboy (2006 'Trans Canada Highway', Warp)
6.Madvillain-Great Day (Four Tet Remix) (2006 'Four Tet Remixes', Domino)
7.Dom Um Romao-Shake (Ginga Gingou) (2006 VA-'Gilles Peterson & Patrick Forge Present “Sunday Afternoon At Dingwalls”’, Ether Records)
8.Archie Shepp-Malcolm, Semper Malcolm (1965 ‘Fire Music', Impulse Records)
9.Oscar Sulley & The Uhuru Dance Band-Bukom Mashie (Quantic Mix) (2006 'One Off’s Remixes and B Sides’ CD2, Tru Thoughts)
10.Delroy Wilson-Run Run (2006 'The Best of Delroy Wilson', Heartbeat/Studio 1)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Scratched Records, Icy Buckets and The Frieze Reprise

I am travelling alone tonight around the usual Hoxton/Kingsland haunts, I have no plans to meet anyone and am not particularly on the lookout for any familiar faces. PV nights are sometimes a social whirl of snatched conversations in passing, the odd 5 minute work discussion here and a 2 minute quick gossip there and sometimes even the passing of a beer to a friend with a tap on the shoulder and a nod to catch up later once you have finished a conversation with some other person only to find that the recipient of the beer has been swallowed up by the crowd never to be seen again (‘til the next time!), on very exceptional occasions it turns into a night of alcoholic carnage as multiple art bods head off from the 9pm gallery curfew to converge in the same pub at the same time, for one night multiple social strands overlap and the world momentarily expands only for it to begin its natural contracting process the next morning. But all these possibilities are far from my thoughts on this particular night, I have my intenerary; 3 galleries, Seventeen, Cube and Associates, bosh, bosh, bosh, done, dusted and home, no messing.
I start my mini tour with a visit to the always top-notch Seventeen Gallery, Graham Dolphin’s exhibition of ‘pop art’ is on show and a small but appreciative bunch are either quietly and closely peering at the work or chatting and pointing at it animatedly, most are hanging round the Seventeen bar and this early evening scene is a calm and welcoming place to be. I take a good look at the work on show, dog eared record covers, posters, a 1978 copy of Melody Maker, LP’s and 7” records and other pop ephemera have been written on by Dolphin, on the card and paper objects using ink, pencil or scratched into the surface he has written in tiny capitals lyrics from the songs, obsessively and painstakingly reconstructing the sung words onto the original packaging in his own handwriting, the spaces in which the written elements have been placed are dictated by the photography, imagery or design of the record cover or poster. These obsessive efforts are reminiscent of the obsessions of some of the fans of these artists. On the vinyl records he has used the same process but this time scratching the lyrics into the vinyl record face following the concentric circular patterns of the record grooves. This is where it really gets the brain ticking over, the cataloguing instinct of the fan, the obsessive attention to detail of lyrics, the need to have the original version, the repackaging and re-release of albums and the multiple copies that can be accumulated by the collector or fan, the completist collection of an artists output and the collection of related journalistic material all occur to me whilst looking at these. The major element is the recreation of the lyrics in one form whilst removing them from their original form, it is a manner of retelling the same story with one voice speaking in the present whilst obscuring the voice of the past, the interpretation of these small handwritten words is much harder to read than to hear the original sound recording but this handwritten element has removed the possibilities of ever hearing the vocals on these particular vinyl pressings.
As ever this is another strong show at the Seventeen and I leave with my head filled with the musical landscape of my childhood, as I walk to Hoxton Square I re-imagine 21st Century Kingsland Road as 1970’s Tooting High Street.

On Hoxton Square I brace myself for the usual manic White Cube experience, I barge my way to the familiar icy buckets and the house beer at the White Cube (Asahi). It is a huge crowd tonight, I see some familiar faces, not that I really know these people to talk to but their faces are etched into my memory from past visits to ‘the cube’. This is where the Frieze experience returns, my short lived nostalgic ‘70’s drift is smashed by the crowded street outside the glowing white light of the White Cube, I cant quite face the art yet so I drink three beers in quick succession whilst people watching. The punters tonight differ from the quieter clientele of the Seventeen, every art world or Hoxton cliché is strutting in the white light scorching this part of Hoxton Square, more than anything the appearance of many is that of refugees from Frieze, I wonder if every flight to New York, Paris and Zurich has been cancelled for a week and the international art fair crowd are milling about tonight on the square because they haven’t been able to return home after last weeks art fair activities. The main man himself is ushering a potential buyer/useful contact or some other from of V.I.P (Very Important Punter) through the crowd and away from the rest of us hangers on.
The 3rd beer takes its toll on my empty stomach and I get that slightly heady beer and no food feeling, not altogether unpleasant but definitely woozy. Slim hipster jean wearing ladies slink past me with their not quite natural lips pursed for some air kissing, twentysomething boys with expensive torn jeans and mullets crowd around their beer bottles and chatter like gossipy girls, a couple of 30’ish guys who look like they belong to a Tokyo biker gang are surreptitiously eyeing up the woman who pass them whilst avoiding the occasional taxi driver shaking his head as he trundles through the crowd cursing this monthly evening ritual that screws up his normal route. The odd crusty resident of the square staggers past me and grabs some more free beer to take to his mates sat behind the railings just out of sight, each guy is in and out without anybody really noticing, the four or five bottles lodged in each hand held tightly and safely, in another place these guys would be dream waiters, Parisian brasseries would kill for staff with their sure-handedness and speed and deftness in manouvering through crowds. Also here tonight are that particular group of fiftysomething beer bellied bald blokes with nerd spectacles that always seem to be at the Shoreditch private views, particularly the White Cube, they often discuss the galleries they have visited but never mention the artist or the work, I cant quite understand what they are doing at the gallery but they seem to enjoy the free booze and eye the crowd with a cool distance that seems a little strange, if someone can explain their role in this whole art world play please do so?. Back to the rest of the crowd and beards of all descriptions can be seen, from Italian style sculpted to grizzly bear backside types of facial hair, as a beardy myself I am surprised by this new male facial hair obsession, it seems that when I left London in March this year everyone was clean shaven and when I returned from 2 months snowboarding in the alps in May with mountain man grizzly hair on my face everyone else had done the same, I did it firstand it's because I froze my bits off in a stinky, cold, cheap hostel with no hot running water and no shaving possibilties, it is my snowboarding mountain man badge of honour and that is why it stayed when I returned to London and I earnt it and no one else has the right to bear hair in the same way!.
I decide to get away from this bizarre spectacle of people watching and wooz my way past the gallery bouncers and into the gallery, Carol Dunham’s modernist pop art paintings throw me, any art is beyond my comprehension by this stage anyway so I’ll give you the quote from the press release.
“I didn’t sit down and strategise my way to an image of sightless humanoid with genitals growing out of its head in a funny hat. It just evolved from things connecting, triggering”. However, in my slightly pissed state and crowd phobia raging in my head nothing is connecting or triggering so all I see is a sightless humanoid in a funny hat with genitals growing out of its head. There are some lady bit paintings upstairs too.

I leave and decide to make my way to Associates on the final leg of my tour, when I arrive there is a huge crowd both outside and in, so much so that it is impossible to see Stella Capes work, I grab the second to last beer from the icy bucket (what the hell, I’m well on the way now so who cares) and make my way back outside, around me there are numerous chattering visitors but I just stare up Hoxton Street watching skateboarders, cyclists and people coming and going from the barbers on the corner. I finish my beer, jump on my bike and weave my way home.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Satan Song

It is Friday evening, on the Strand the rush hour traffic is straining and jerking its way westwards at the end of another working week, looking back to the main road I can see the erratic and unpredictable lights of the traffic as hundreds of road commuters angrily, nervily scratch another few years off their lives with the stress of their slow progress home, “the weekend starts here”, but not quite yet for most. I cross the courtyard of Somerset House and stroll slowly taking in the balance of the low levels of artificial light and the amazing dark blue of the autumn sky at this time of day and time of year, the courtyard is pretty much empty, a few people are scattered behind me at the entrance to the Courtauld Institute for their weekend exhibition of videos and performance titled “Cold Cold Heart”, these are the wine sippers after their PV freebies and later in the evening I drink with the rest of them whilst goggling at artists videos but for now I make my way to the far left hand corner of the courtyard for ‘the performance’.

I stop just outside the main building, I am calm now after the hectic journey here and I fancy gathering my thoughts and enjoying the quiet before finally entering the building. A couple of minutes pass and as I stand still and quiet I can hear a kind of groaning, not quite a shout but a slowly inconsistent drawling growl, it is punctuated by the occasional pause, it is odd. It’s a male voice, crying for help?, not really, affirmatively issuing shouted warnings or statements?, no, not that either, I cant put my finger on it, from this distance and with the muffled voicings coming through the door and windows I fail to decipher not only the words but also their intent. A handful of people are coming and going from the building, a small steady trickle in and out of the open door, I enter. The sound is clearer now, I am at the top of a staircase and a rhythmic rising and falling tone of guitar picking greets me and then I hear the voice, a growling, then soft, then a harsh gravelly half shout and then a melodic singing. The voice of Ragnar Kjartansson and his guitar ascend the open staircase from beneath me, this is not a normal guitar and vocal thing, not a song more a sung chant, you would not describe it within a musical genre either, one thing is for certain though, the song/voice/chant is resonant with pain, suffering, arrogance, defiance and anger; both rebellious anger and the defiant anger of the wounded not bowing to pain. I peer over the bannister and three floors beneath me Kjartansson protrudes from a pile of black dust or earth, it is a deliberately constructed pile of matter and he sits in the centre with his bare torso and guitar showing, the pile of earth is mounded up to just around the lower part of his ribcage or slightly over the height of his waist. I descend the staircase and hear his singing chant, “Satan is real, Satan is working for me..”, over and over, small changes in the guitar pickings and then a return “Satan is real, Satan is working for me”, as I reach the lower floor and pass him he continues his song, he shoots me a pained, aggressive look as he sings out once again “Satan is real, Satan is working for me”, the phrase continues, as I turn and begin to return upstairs to the courtyard this slightly sweaty, greasy haired, blond guy gives the impression of a Scandinavian Robert Johnson figure, has he sold his soul to the devil?, has the deal been done to enable the performance?. This sung phrase and guitar strumming will continue for another two nights and into Sunday, for the long passing of the hours, “Satan is real, Satan is working for me". As he continues and I reach the top of the stairs and leave the building I ask myself whether Satan is real and if so is Satan working for him or is he working for Satan?.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Read These

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Frieze Photo

Sunday, October 15, 2006


So the busiest week of the year in the London art world is over. Visiting the multiple art fairs this week was on the whole a slightly depressing experience, regardless of the particular fair be it Frieze, Scope, Year 06 the overall impression was the same, stylistically art across the world is homogenising into a core of several rigid styles, no doubt this is market led homogeneity but where is the space for experimentation or risk?. The Zoo art fair offered a little more variety and risk but the signs of market capitulation simmered in the background, however the inclusion of galleries from Mexico and a handful of UK galleries based outside London provided a small crumb of hope. There were a few galleries and artists scattered around the fairs who are pushing boundaries and creating something out of the ordinary and I strongly applaud their integrity and nerve, unfortunately a huge majority seem to be exerting massive stylistic control over the market, I am aware that art fairs are by their very nature a purely commercial, capitalist beast but in the past more variety could be seen even within this arena, national characteristics were in the past recognisable and distinct, art from the Far East, Latin America, Spain, Italy, Germany the US and UK would hold a geographical character despite its varying media but although this can be somewhat observed the variety is diminishing.
I have no problem with galleries, dealers and artists making money but for those of us either unwilling or incapable to adopt or appropriate the market ‘look’ it is a time of sombre reflection and doubt, for some, like myself it turns to rebellion and pride in ones own unique approach but perhaps for younger or unestablished artists the doubts may weigh too heavily.

Society gets the art it deserves but how many talented, hard working artists with strong integrity will be able to tough out this market led obsession with homogeneity and will be lost. Artists are often alienated from their own culture with public opinion lagging behind the vanguard of progressive artistic practice, visual art suffers from stylistic appropriation by the commercial arts through advertising and graphic design, only the very successful wealthy artists can test the potential legal implications of this.

With these thoughts in mind I was grateful for the respite and warm glow provided by the Centre of Attention’s look at the artistic world of the late 20th century with their show "fast and loose (my dead gallery)" at the Fieldgate Gallery in Whitechapel, it is a show tinged with sadness at the loss of projects, galleries and movements of our artistic predecessors. Karen D’Amico’s reflection of the past week and the parting shot of her latest blog entry shows the fears of many artists and reflects on the losses to come.

The rumblings of dissent against the current art market trends are there and regular readers of my ramblings will be aware of the varied galleries, artists, project spaces and studios across London quietly but strongly developing their ‘own thing’. Perhaps we are not so much a counter culture but certainly a counterpoint.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Charity Shop Soundclash

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rubbish (Parts One & Two)

Rubbish (Part One)
Tonight is a night of urban angst, from the dark, scary, litter strewn streets just outside your front door to the impending world ending global catastrophes of comets, earthquakes and tsunamis. In the Rokeby Gallery Michael Samuels’ fantastical small sculptures is ratcheting up the quiet tension and fear you may be harbouring in the dark recesses of your mind. Samuels’ sculptures look like tiny architectural models created for a Bond villain or dark streetscapes left behind by the little people.

Suspended from or atop small pieces of wooden tables and stools sit the tiny sculptures, on recognisable human environmental detritus of discarded furniture are smaller environments for what appears to be minituarised versions of ourselves.
These versions have departed the scenes and left a variety of street furniture and architectural objects behind them. Strung between two stools raised up on large impromptu stilts is a long precarious rope bridge over what would be an instant death drop, another scene shows a turquoise blue sea with a devils island decorated with large skulls sat in the middle of a calm, quiet and beautiful sea, a further seascape is interrupted by what appears to be large hole created by a world threatening comet hit.

In more domestic scenes is a street with a rubbish filled skip in another a discarded, overflowing, shopping trolley barely lit by a single street light, it seems to have been left in a hurry, the scene departed and just the trolley left as evidence that anyone was there. Most of the domestic environments on modified coffee tables give this appearance. One such environment is once again uninhabited but the sinister threat is more explicit with a police board appealing for witnesses.

In the parallel world of our tiny alter egos the sinister and threatening becomes more obvious than our own, for the tiny other me and you in Samuels’ imaginings the darkness and fear is a constant, inescapable part of the world he has constructed. In the downstairs gallery even a point of respite will not really afford true relief from the mini nightmare world, a long boardwalk would give us a view out to the sea and some chance for quiet reflection but somehow this piece of coastal architecture is unsettling. It is a little too dark and devoid of any people, its prodigious span is too much to contemplate, escape from this scene would be a huge feat.

Rubbish (Part Two)
I am entering the Hauser & Wirth Coppermill building for Christophe Buchel’s new installation, I ascend the stairs and turn the corner onto the landing and squeeze past the huge number of people and the zed beds lining the corridor. These upstairs rooms are of a quietly unsettling domestic nature, it looks like a dosshouse or cheap hotel for previously successful professional people who have retired and are quietly slipping into madness. In the first room I enter it appears one such retiree has collected a huge number of objects from a lifetime as an archeologist and is scattering the remnants around the room in an order only clear to himself. The cupboard in the room is open and I jump as one of my fellow visitors appears from the cupboard and leaps out into the room, on closer inspection they have emerged from the only access in and out of the room next door which is through a hole in the back of the cupboard and the hole in the wall that the cupboard sits in front of. Outside this the neighbouring room the door is padlocked from the outside. Other doors are padlocked and others are free to enter, one is a kitchen filled with people, no doubt they are visitors to the gallery like myself but the way they inhabit this room makes them seem part of the show, the mundane conversation and the appearance of the kitchen could be mock or real, possibly it is the territory between the two but I cant tell.
To my left is a toilet, the room is filled with pot plants, not quite like a jungle but perhaps an indoor forest of potted houseplants, luckily I am not feeling in need of the facilities and scuttle out onto the fire escape and descend into the chaos of the main gallery space.
Hauser & Wirth’s gallery space at Coppermill does not give the appearance of a normal gallery, in its previous incarnation it was a covered yard used for entirely practical reasons by the previous incumbents. H & W have decided to empty the yard and use it as they found it with no architectural interventions, but now with Buchel’s show it is refilled with “art”. This is not art as you might normally recognise it though, filled in a maniacal way with what can only be described as rubbish. This rubbish is not as it seems though, Buchel has created what I can best describe as a hellish London shanty town, to my right is a small townscape of discarded fridges and freezers piled on top of each other. Further into this scene of madness is a flat bed lorry with bunkbeds lining the inside.
At the back of the yard/gallery/shantytown is a filthy caravan, the inside looks inhabited by the untidiest person you can imagine, I peer in for a while and decide to stroll back into the main space, I am momentarily distracted by one guy animatedly shouting to his friend, “this is mad, this is madness, this is really mad, madness, really mad, really really mad,……” he is grinning and saying this over and over and over and CRUNCH…., in my distraction I have just stepped on some ‘art’, it is a little piece of brittle black plastic and it had just toppled from the piles of ‘stuff’ that have been pushed and piled against the walls that surround the caravan and against the caravan itself. Piles of circuit boards from what must be thousands of defunct computers sit by the wall and against and around the caravan are a tower of white metal cases that the boards came from, a small path between the computer detritus snakes back into the main space, I walk the path between the cases and their neighbouring wires back into this nightmarish world.
Further on is a ‘porn room’, a large collection of people are standing in the room which is actually a shipping container opened up and lit inside, at every available piece of wall is a page or poster from various porn magazines, at every point I look at the walls a variety of young women look back whilst fingering their genitals and contorting their bodies in various positions, I look into this room/container from outside and notice that even with the huge numbers of visitors to this evenings opening this is by far the busiest room. I decide not to go inside this particular room, it emanates a hot, damp, muggy air that I can feel just standing a few yards from the entrance and the smell coming from the room is somewhat unsavoury.
Despite my slightly unsettled state surrounded by such chaos I enter one last space, I am attracted to it by the familiar comfortable sounds of football commentary, it is an empty canteen style room in a portacabin. Cheap, old tables and chairs are lined up in front of the small portable television sitting on a bracket on the wall, I watch for a short while as Manchester United play Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Despite the comforting experience of televised football I need to leave, I cant figure out what is going on, this is urban angst in physical form, what is art?, what is rubbish?, are the gallery staff part of the installation?, are the visitors part of the installation?. There are many other dark corners and environments in Buchel’s installation that I have yet to sample but I am leaving anyway, all the edges are blurring into a mess and a mass and I feel like a unwitting participant in a horrible game, such is Buchel’s bizarre creation. The final act of this bizarre experience comes as I approach the stars of the main building to return to the real world, on these stairs when I arrived earlier I was greeted by an attractive member of the gallery staff. As I leave the same staff member appears from behind a closed door as if from nowhere just as I am passing and I jump, startled for the second time this evening by an unexpected appearance, this is of course not intentional, I am sure Buchel hasn’t engineered this just to give me a little scare as I leave, or has he?.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

World Circuit

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

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sand Between the Toes

For the past three days the darkened environs of The Pit in the Barbican was the site of an event as part of their series celebrating the work of composer Steve Reich. Using the basis of Reich’s piece of music “Violin Phase” filmmaker Thierry De Mey featured dancer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s interpretation of Reich’s music.

The music of Violin Phase is a series of looped passages of solo violin music, Reich’s familiar composition method played out whilst in time De Keersmaeker followed with abrupt and softer passages of the almost percussive violin sounds to create in sand a rose shape. Shot from overhead on a 20 metre high crane, De Mey films the dancers expressive journey as she stabs, drags, steps and glides her feet over the surface of the sand. During the course of the performance she demarcates with these movements the rose shape, first a circle and then by increments moving to the centre of the circle she has created and then returning to the outer periphery lines appear in the sand to draw the final pattern.

The audience were free to move across and round the filmed performance for its duration and all the time observing the spectacle being projected from overhead onto the sand filled floor of The Pit. Previous audiences had disrupted the sand laid on the floor and these distortions of footmarks and treads added to the films imagery as the disrupted portions of sand in turn disrupted the projections of the film. The audience became part of the performance.

De Keersmaeker’s dance unfolded and after some time the rhythmic but sometimes staccato movements became a trance like exercise for the viewer, like a primitive ritual, we began to trace with our eyes the movements of De Keersmaeker’s feet and this became a hypnotic spectacle very difficult to avert your eyes from, much the same as Reich’s music creates trance like repetitions of simple musical passages. The movements of feet, arms outstretched and returned to the side of the body and the simple demarcated field of movement created increasing definition of the rose pattern with each step.
This was a simply executed film echoing in its production and choreography the unfussy, uncluttered compositional style of Reich.

In the Trees

The second exhibition in the Transition Gallery ‘Supernature’ series opened on Friday night, Annabel Dover is exhibiting her sculptures of a large variety of British birds along with some small drawings.
I arrive expecting to be a little disappointed, Dover has a huge task in hand to match the amazing work produced by Laura White in the previous supernature show, it is always difficult to follow a show of such scale and depth with much more quiet, understated work.
I am underwhelmed rather than disappointed, to view Dover’s work requires a shutting down of stylistic preconceptions, many artworks rendered in this manner turn me off and this is my initial response. In the social environment of the private view I have an opportunity to disengage from the work for a while and I endeavour to return later in the evening and allow myself to absorb some vibe from the work.

A little while later the gallery has emptied as the visitors socialise on the balcony just outside. I re-enter the room and in the quiet of the space I stroll around the main sculptural piece, a sculpted mock tree is the seat for a prodigious number of birds. The bare tree contains more variety of feathered wildlife in much closer proximity than would be the case in the real world. The model birds appear crudely produced, does the rough finish and slightly unnatural pigments reflect the human need for understanding through observation?, is this intended to reflect our human desire to categorise and contain, to make nature an academically or scientifically accurate recording?. No matter how much we categorise and record our natural surroundings we will never fully understand the behaviour and motivations of the creatures around us. For many of us our understanding of the natural world comes from these scientific recordings, our understanding comes not from our own observations but from second hand knowledge and the representations that come from these observations will always be somewhat inaccurate. Are Dover’s crude and abnormal three dimensional representations a statement of mistrust of this system of scientific and academic classification?. In the unnatural setting of the gallery and with the unnatural representations of these creatures I am left confused.

Dover may have cleverly thrown me off the scent with her production methods but to tell the truth I am still unsure about this show, maybe the confusion and lack of resolution I feel with the show is deliberate. I am left with one positive thought however, I would love to see these representations placed in the true habitat with their living counterparts and maybe this is entirely what Dover wants me to think.