Saturday, April 25, 2009

London Stone-London Heart

London Stone-London Heart
Cabinet, Glass Jars, London Stock Bricks and Thames Water
104 x 62 x40.5cm

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Between or Inside?

Everything about Cinthia Marcelle’s art speaks of quiet tension. Familiar materials and references are subverted to expose our presumptions of what we think we see in front of us and what might not be immediately evident. These subversions create a tension and show a fragility in things that we percieve to strongly represent the comfortable, recognisable constants of life. It is not that Marcelle shakes us from complacency more that she recontextualises familiar views and actions into wholly recognisable but new and perhaps slightly disturbing and disturbed assumptions of inevitable consequences, those things around us that are part of processes which we perceive to have a narratively assumed and predictable ‘beginning, middle and end’. Marcelle handles lightly her scuptural interventions and allows the viewer the freedom to observe from a distance a slowly insinuated re-reading of what we are seeing in front of our eyes. Her current works in the Sprovieri Gallery are diverse but simple, on entering the space we are faced with a divided room, a partition of wooden panels painted in yellow gloss paint, it is only on entering the room properly that we realise that this division is mirrored by another yellow painted panelled wall facing the other, a door is inserted into the panels to allow entry into the space but as this has been left ajar we only realise the echo of the door that allowed entry to the gallery after we have passed through them, once inside we are already being pulled subtly back out of the gallery before we have really entered it. To the left hand side of the gallery a reel to reel tape machine emanates the sound of its turning reels, however instead of the expected tape running through the tape head flaps of masking tape have been reeled around in its place. The masking tape appears torn under the force of the machines action, the force of its action fills the gallery with its sound. Opposite is a collage of masking tape torn and placed in strips reminiscent of brick courses, one looks intently to see the thoroughness or otherwise of the rendering of this piece but is dragged back to memories of walls and other brick built forms despite the fragility of the paper and tape image in front of your eyes.
On the other side of the yellow barrier further into a darkened gallery space is the signature piece and most beguiling of Marcelle’s exhibition, a video projects the film of a yellow earthmoving vehicle ponderously moving in a figure of eight on a muddy landscape. At some parts of its progress its mechanical arm moves downwards to push the muddy soil along its path at others the arm lifts to deposit this load along the continued path it is forming, the tyres of the vehicle flatten and cut their path through these lumps of deposited soil as the machine gradually draws its presence on the landscape whilst creating an action which destroys part of its activity. This see-sawing of movement, activity and intention appears the height of futility but this rhythmic and predictable progress is captivating for no other reason than the spectacle of its insignificant action creating nothing more than a mark on the landscape and a rhythm of activity. The final piece in Marcelle’s suite of subversions and interventions is a wooden rule longer than the height of the gallery which is squeezed between floor and ceiling, its bowed form is squashed inside the interior of the space in a tense but solid corruption of its materiality, form and function.
These actions, measurements, subversions and interventions created by Marcelle do not lead one to understanding or on the path to understanding the profundity of the world but exist in many states. Just as every individual and collective society can only control a small part of our existence at most times we are only between states, in Marcelle’s eyes we exist between predictable and unpredictable, known and unknown, comfort and discomfort and that, perhaps, is the pain and pleasure of our existence.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Goin Downstairs

V22 Presents The Sculpture Show

V22 PRESENTS: The Sculpture Show 26 April – 31 May 2009 Wed – Sun 12 – 6pm
The Almond Building, The Biscuit Factory, Bermondsey, London.

V22 PRESENTS is a series of projects produced in collaboration with artists, curators and art organisations in a variety of venues around London. V22 PRESENTS decided to explore the modes of thought and production in sculpture. To open a dialogue we put to five artists - Shahin Afrassiabi, Sam Basu, Simon Bill, Cedric Christie, Fergal Stapleton - the following:
For the second project V22 PRESENTS have invited 5 artist curators to select works that engage with current developments and critiques in contemporary Sculpture.
The archaic term Sculpture can no longer contain the multiple directions and potentials that artists have attributed to it throughout its history.
Through bringing together diverse approaches and understanding from international artists, groups and projects V22 PRESENTS: The Sculpture Show is an opportunity to engage with the diverse potentials that have come to encapsulate, and exist within, the definition Sculpture.

Data Wall:AESD: Agency for Economy and Space Development: Maziar Afrassiabi, Shahin Afrassiabi, Sam Basu, John Colenbrander, with thanks to Julian Meinold and Piers O'Hanlon
NIS: New International School: Matthew Stock Treignac Project: Sam Basu, Elizabeth Murray.
The Real:Phyllida Barlow, Anne Damer, Karin Ruggaber, Audrey Reynolds, Fergal Stapleton, Brian Wall, Martin Westwood.
Oysters Ain't:Karen Ay, Fiona Banner, Richard Bartle, David Batchelor, Rob Beckett, Simon Bill, Hartmut Bohm, Cedric Christie, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Steve Claydon, Clem Crosby, Penelope Curtis, Charlotte Cullinan & Jeanine Richards (ArtLab), Cathy de Monchaux, Arnaud Desjardin, Valerie Driscoll, Richard Ducker, Garth Evans, Urs Fischer, FREEE ( Dave Beech, Andy Hewitt & Mel Jordan), John Gibbons, Kathy Gili, Tom Gidley, Paul Gildea, Andrea Giulivi, Stewart Gough, Naum Gabo, Robin Greenwood, Brian Griffiths, Zoe Griffiths, Nicola Hicks, Peter Hide, Flore Nore Josserand, Helene Kazan, Michael Kidner, Philip King, Simon Liddiment, Ed Lipski, Colin Lowe, Christina Mackie, Bruce McLean, Rebecca Johnson Marshall, Haroon Mirza, Henry Moore, Zadoc Nava, Paul Neagu, Lawson Oyekan, Eduardo Paolozzi, Nicholas Pope, Richard Priestly, Michael Sandle, Paul Sakoilsky, Celia Scott, Dallas Seitz, Meg Shirayama, Jane Simpson, Anthony Smart ,Bob & Roberta Smith, Richard Smith, Steve Smith, Sarah Staton, Dan Stevens, Michael Stubbs, Vanya Balogh, Simon Stringer, Gavin Turk, Jessica Voorsanger, Gary Webb, Richard Wentworth, Keith Wilson, Christian Wulffen, Mark Woods, Richard Woods, Lars Wolter.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Well Said

This says it all, I have always thought this and agressively put this accross to those who denigrate the work of artists and their 'usefulness' to society but sometimes someone just says it a whole lot better than you can yourself.

Labels: ,

Friday, April 03, 2009

Elevated environment

To look at architectural drawings and plans can be a soulless experience, the clean, untouched, utopian drawings can almost seem to deny the existence of humanity and the natural environment. Elevations show details to be achieved in all their pure and pristeen forms with unbroken lines and curves that do not encounter any disruptions. It is for these reasons that architecture can be a beguiling discipline, it represents an ability to view the world in a controlled manner, but when the built environment starts to grow from its foundations and is created in its physical and geographical forms rather than its supposed intended form on the page the reality of the human and natural world starts to intervene and alter the best laid plans. To view Richard Galpin’s meticulous and highly stylised architectural themed designs is to see both the beauty, desperation and delight of the architectural process and its manifestations in the urban landscape. At first we see what appears to be processed and stylised designs of fantastical architecture. Lines, curves and blocks of colour appear as perspectives and dimensions of an idealised urban landscape. Amongst these elements of lines, lines of sight into the blocks of colour reveal the visual information contained within. Images reveal themselves, lettering and typefaces, faces, materials and surfaces, the full manifestations of Galpin’s hand rendered designs are revealed, the blocks of colour and partially glimpsed images also highlight the process by which Galpin has rendered these designs. On large scale photos the emulsion is scored into these accuarately defined blocks and lines and the surface is peeled away revealing the white layer of paper underneath, this revealed surface shows the scuffed and frayed underlayer and adjacent to these blocks of scuffed white, lines and blocks protrude into these vast white areas of space, an exploded or imploded urban landsacpe only partially reveals itself. From this point the detail we look for in the archtectural plans is lost to a wider view of the natural environment dictating its presence on the built environment. One might think that this becomes a saddening realisation, Galpin is showing us the extent to which the physical world we construct around us is open to elements of unpredictable natural change and our own interventions that alter the landscape beyond our initial intentions, however we could see this image of destruction and change as a comforting and encouraging sign that time is marching forward and correcting the arrogance of human activity. Constructions built from materials which age and alter by natural processes beyond our control gain character and alter appearance in beautiful and unexpected ways, they grow and define their own right to existence and place in history. Those which degrade and age into a derelict or weakened state defy our ability to construct our urban world from unsustainable processes or designs rendered without the full rigourousness of our conceptual abilities. We cannot deny degradation and the passing of time and these processes warn us of vanity but also allow us to embrace our world as a natural environment with which we can create a relationship and dialogue.
I leave the Hales gallery and Richard Galpin’s thoughtful and handsomely crafted images and step into the city, suddenly every scratched pavement, dried piece of chewing gum, small uninitended intervention into the materiality of the built environment takes on a much larger significance. Dried puddles of water paint their presence on walls with residues of limescale, plants protrude from cracks in the pavement that have filled with the dust and soil that have been blown by currents of winds created by neigbouring buildings. Even markings left by ourselves to demark intended improvements or repairs to the fabric of our city appear as unintended but poignant indicators of our presence. The city will only acede to our will for a very short time and as the natural world infiltrates our urban environment and time passes its effects on our constructed environment and our own efforts to adapt to the environment we have created become either something to fear or something which can reveal an unnoticed and overlooked beauty.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Nothing Felt

Tonico Lemos Auad’s sculptures, interventions and installations are too fragile, too loose and unformed, one feels that the fragile almost insignificant machinations do not carry enough weight to be considered an art object. It is not that the craft of the art works is in question more that such materials cannot hold our weight of expectations, wishes or desires. Where others see materiality I see disintegration, process is lost in the lightness of touch, and sensuality of materials rendered in the production of the work is lost to a dull aching sense of the insignificant struggling to meet our expectations of significance.
To feel no connection to work of such critical aclaim places a critic in the awkward position of feeling that maybe they “just don’t get it”, maybe the artist wants those of us too invested in the grand gestures of art to rethink the balance of power in art and wider society. The signature piece of this show is a silver scratch card wall with a background of vaguely revealed images of offerings to the Candomble goddess of the sea. It has intimations of the overlapping territories of faith and luck being cultures apart but somehow joining, however it does not insinuate to me the significance of this concept but just appears as an amalgam of multi-cultural graffiti. Visitors have ‘scratched’ but revealed nothing more than a need to make their mark by the opportunity to deface the wall with impunity. If the goddess wishes to help encourage ‘faith’ all we have offered is our disregard of her existence beneath this silver veil and given vent to our selfish need to impose our identity on our surroundings.
Broken silver chains looped from the ceiling and repaired with pieces of thread, two holes punched into the gallery wall and grills inserted that vaguely reveal the content of the shelves of the adjacent gallery office, a boat made from felt or bottles, pots and other vessels also made from felt do not make one think of anything other than the insignificance of such objects rendered in such a way. I am only too aware of the insiginificant and overlooked and Tonico Lemos Auad’s art works do not help me to think beyond that simple premise. To reflect on issues of significance and that which is overlooked should be something with which all of us should engage and reflect on however with this current exhibition in the Stephen Friedman gallery the art works just hold an insiginificant materiality, their stories are hidden and do not impress on this viewer any motivation to engage and remain overlooked. But as I said earlier, maybe I just don’t get it.

Labels: , ,