London Trip (21/3/15) highlights
Instead of going into the studio (which I will be making up for next weekend) I went down to London to see what’s going on. With a few shows in mind I built up an intinnerary of shows to see. Starting the day with a surprising side-step to Alexander McQueen’s show at the V&A which beyond anything I ever expected. Not a follower of high fashion i only knew of him more in passing. Now I’ve see probably all of his collection I have a better understand of how brave and bombastic he was on the cat-walk. Putting himself out there with his work, not afraid to put his soul on show. Each room a different collection, I didn’t know what to expect from room to room. Finishing off entering into wonderland, as head-pieces and dresses rotated round in shelves that filled the room, I was in awe of the theatricality of the work,
Moving over one stop to Sloane Square for two shows, the first being Joe Webb who was one of the main reasons. A small solo show in the basement of the Saatchi Gallery, a big step for the artist that I wanted to see for myself. Having seen a number of the his paper-cuts and other works online to see them in the flesh was make or break. An online image takes away the aura of the work. I was pleasantly surprised by the paper-cuts which were no bigger than A4 themselves before you take into account the frame. To see how the images are created brings is what makes them for me. The directness of the image, they are paper collages cut out with scissors thats what that are essentially. To see the braveness of the work, one wrong cut and the image is lost. I could see imperfections which add more richness to the work too, patching up areas successfully.
I had a few more surprises at the Saatchi Gallery in the form of trees and spiders. Two tree pieces by Jorge Mayet who has De Mis Vivos y Mis Muertos (2008) a tree suspended by fishing wire from the ceiling, something that can make or break a piece, having to accept it as part of the work not just a method of display. Constructed from electric wire that is built up and painted in acrylic. It appears almost like a Bonsai tree without the tender love and care that is needed. Its all there, roots and all bare, nothing is hidden with this miniature piece. The roots are emphases mores that the tree is supports above, as it if really does;t matter, as without it’s an unsupported tree with no foundations. Turning to the second piece across the other side of the room there is more colour in this dreamlike tree Entre Dos Aguas (2008) which appears to be floating free of any real supports which I found hidden cleverly below. No roots this time, focusing more of the grass that holds the roots almost on end above the earth, not wanting to sink under the ground, as if it has just been torn up like a weed or a plant that is going to be replanted, holding on for dear life. For me it was about the presentation of the work, how fragile the piece is and how it seems to defy gravity.
Moving even further upstairs of the Saatchi I found another piece that by Rafael Gómezbarros that I saw advertised but could not find until my friend directed me to a surprise which I was delighted and both slightly…slightly frightened by. The presence of giant ants crawling up the walls of a space is something we have all seen. Not like Pangaea (2013) which covered almost every space of the walls, leaving only a fraction of white space. Playing both with scale and our fears, emphasising our frustration of the small amplified, now out of control in these fibre glass creatures.
Moving on through Chelsea I found another show I wanted to take in, that of Slinkachu which I found if I’m honest to be a let down. I think Slinkachu’s website presentation of the work differs a lot from what I was expecting. Having a build up to the hidden scene, closing in on the miniatures in usually overlook urban spaces. Miniaturesque felt like a selling exercise, more than another way of looking which is what I enjoy about his work. Then there was an installation that was made especially for the show, untitled and forced. 4 concrete slabs and a bollard littered in upturned cigarette butts to construct a wood that is being cut down. I know that Slinkachu’s is location based adapting a location for his work. The installation is supposed to build upon that playfulness, however it fails becoming more about creating a scene for the sake of it. There is a loss of spontaneity in the work. Of course he places some objects into the locations of the photography. You never find upturned cigarette ends on a pavement and never mass unless it’s a smoking area. This could be another strand to his work which I’m not familiar with, I do have to bear that in mind. Until I see otherwise my thoughts will stay the same,
Thankfully I went on to fill the rest of the day with some interesting shows before the galleries closed for the day, providing a lot of discussion and inspiration for future work.