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Review: to take a-way (one)

Exhibition: to take a-way (one)

Nolias Gallery, 201 Liverpool Road, London N1 1LX, 21-27 July 11am-6pm

The current show at Nolias Gallery, Liverpool Road, features the work of more than 25 artists – almost all of whom are recent graduates of Central Saint Martins. The dominant form is object-based, but there are also videos, drawings and photographs on display, and even the remnants of a performance piece or two.

As attention spans aren’t quite what they used to be, I’ll cut straight to what ought to be the last paragraph. This show is very much worth a visit: good-natured, funny and intelligent, a series of materialised thought experiments that, for once, really do invite the hypothetical spectator to look and think again. Not all of it’s that good, but you have only until Friday 27th July to see the things that are.

While Nolias isn’t the smallest of London’s ‘little galleries’, a group show of this size can only be accommodated by allowing for different artists’ pieces to interact with and even impose on each other. Surprisingly, perhaps, this has resulted in a remarkably unified show, with brand-enhancing sensationalism and distinctiveness giving way to the expression of a shared sensibility. And it is this sensibility, which privileges the ordinary and everyday, jokes, puns, exaggeration and understatement, the impractical and irrelevant, that both gives the show a forceful, serious charm, and suggests its possible limitation.

Caroline Mackenzie

The productive similarities between Caroline Mackenzie’s concertina’d ladder and Jamie Bowler’s spade-as-chair, for example, or between Craig Kao’s videos and Nicholas Brown’s ‘frustrated’ machine, place art and its productions firmly within the space of ordinary life and everyday objects, valuing these for the gratuitous pleasure and meaning they are capable of generating – characteristics that exceed precisely the officially administered everyday world. But in dialogue with Maxfield Bozeat’s oven, say, at the bottom of which the fat of a roasted rabbit has congealed, this positive narrative reveals itself supremely fragile – how quickly the pleasure of the everyday slides into the pleasure of everyday violence. There’s a knife by those minuscule lemons (Isabelle Webster), and there are a lot of little animals that might end up in the oven.

The other concluding paragraph: an ambivalent show, in the strong Freudian sense; it’ll be sunny, with intimations of disaster.

Anton Viesel

5 Responses

  1. hi…

    i wonder in the review…where is our gracious almighty Bruce Gernard…over the all…the show has take a great consideration of that dude!!

    hopefully see you on a friday critque…later…thanks for the writing!

    craig

  2. That critique begins at 2pm by the way.

    Craig, have you been watching The Big Lebowski? You sound like the dude! Anyway I spoke to Anna Tallentire today and she said the exhibition was “affirmative to life” and “very optimistic.”

    Cheers,
    savvas

  3. …and does Anne Tallentire know she has work in it yet? I’m considering buying that from her🙂

    Interesting, I never thought of us as casually violent before but now I see everything in a new light, especially Charlie’s piece.

  4. Two months since the last comment on this post, I ought to have come up with a sufficiently useful reply. But I haven’t, I’m afraid, other than to say that I didn’t actually think of the work as being casually violent.

    Rather than casual accidents, I thought of the everyday violence that may have been exhibited as being integral/internal to the works; perhaps even symptomatic of the nebulous cultural and social pressures that shape the production of contemporary art.

    Thanks for the comments, and I hope this makes sense.

  5. […] showing at the Waterloo Gallery this week are giving it a very good go. Following the success of to take a-way (one) at the Liverpool Street Nolias Gallery, many of the same Central Saint Martins graduates have […]

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