London Trip 18-19/11/16 Part 2
My last full day in London was admittedly more stressful, considering I had my performance debut later that night. However I didn’t let it overshadow the work that I took in over the course of the day, leading up to ultimately a very successful night. (ImpFest Post coming soon!).
Starting the day at Matts Gallery to see the work of Leah Capaldi – Lay Down which was video sculpture, that was a combination of a two channel video with an rather odd performative element which I couldn’t work out its connection to the film. Capaldi was “inspired by her time in the deserts of the American West. Here, Capaldi met a Utah cowboy and his horse, a film exploring their relationship and the vast, performative landscape that surrounds them forms the core of the installation. Lay Down asks how power is constructed and understood, this question arising throughout the installation, in the iconic figure of the American cowboy, the influence of the sublime landscape and the authority of the screen.“ I spent a good time with the piece, we have the cowboy working with the horse, not quite that of a horse whisperer. He literally knew the animal inside out, he was working on a psychological level with the animal, working them the horse in order for it to relax and lay down, almost therapeutic you could say. I just felt the addition of the performer who at one point was laying behind the projection (on a structure that allowed him to lie down and rest his arm through a specially cut hole brought nothing really to the piece. Even when he moved position to have both his legs resting on the other side of the projection. Was the performer supposed to be channeling the energy that the cowboy was emitting towards the horse?
The next show was at a rather unconventional location, on a row of residential house on Kennington Road in the South East of the capital. A converted house with 3 spaces for work to be exhibited. At Danielle Arnaud I found the most beautiful work of the weekend by Helen Maurer – re Composing, a series of light pieces that really gave me a boost after a somewhat problematic piece that linked to the roots of my practice. These works showed me how simple and low-fi work can really be and still produce such inspiring pieces that leave you speechless. I wanted to take photographs of the work but I really though this time, even if I asked permission (which I always do) would be stealing it’s aura. These pieces I just can’t really describe how powerful and delicate they are, you can to see them for yourself. Produced with simple lighting, OHP’s in some cases that project across the room. Please find below a selection of promotional stills from the website (as I have for all of these shows). You could say that this is an indoor garden of light, or a cheaply put together show. You can’t deny these are all carefully composed pieces that excite, and take you into a world of wonder. I want to go back there.
Lastly we went over to the Serpentine Gallery for Helen Marten – Drunk Brown House a show that Combines “sculpture, text and screen-printed paintings, Marten’s practice comprises images and objects, often playing with two and three-dimensionality. Her installations employ visual and linguistic ambiguity in order to explore the potential for misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
Marten’s sculptural installations often serve as repositories for disparate material combinations, resulting in an exhibition that calls into question our changing relationship to the readymade. Underscored by a process of collaged abstraction, her assemblages resonate with associative meaning. Creating a string of hieroglyphs or a kind of archaeological anagram, the work’s encrypted sequences are nevertheless driven by their own internal logic.
“I’m really interested in the point at which things become husked down to geometric memories of themselves, where a house, for instance, a pair of legs or a cat could be communicated with huge economy and speed via just a few lines. The vector can become a mechanism of delivery. As incorporated extensions, even a simple nod towards a shape that might be reminiscent of a readymade form is quite literally a vocaliser of external things – an agent of the world outside art-making. And this is the point where you can use recognisable authority, the obstinate fact of a universally existent thing – an arm, a teapot, an alphabet – and extricate it from its own sense of intentionality.””
I was more interested in the sculptural work which were all very well crafted. Combining model miniatures into nonsensical contraptions which have the potential to do something, just what I can’t really fathom. Combined with ready-made pieces that have been adapted so they loose their original function to become part of something bigger, larger than their intended use. They have the comedy that has been inspired by Fischli and Weiss’s The Way Things Go (1987). These are more bright, colourful and definitely not going to explode.
All rounded off with three performances at ImpFest (2016) which in terms of personal performance got better, with the aid of my sister who also documented ensured I gave my best. I received some positive feedback which has given me the confidence to repeat the performance at a later date and even take on variation of this performance model. Does this mean I am now a performance artist?, I’d say its becoming another aspect of my practice but I wouldn’t define myself that, as its too restricting when I produce work in other mediums.