Eva Fabrégas, Jaimini Patel, Ruth Proctor, Reto Pulfer, Alex Reynolds, Anne Tallentire, Aaron Tan
Every Object is a Thing but not every thing is an object brings together seven artists who share an economy of means in their making. Industrially produced materials, functional objects, personal effects and performative situations have been dislocated, re-appropriated, re-contextualised, translated and transformed.
With this exhibition we are interested in looking at the porous and relational, how artworks suggest and evoke possible forms, structures and languages. Each work, an act of transformation, speaks of its process of becoming and thereby a mutability of states. As well though, the works are firmly rooted in social and political conditions that inform the formal and narrative possibilities at play.
A performative aspect is present; sometimes literally as in Alex Reynold’s video Esta Puerta, Esta Ventana, 2017, in which a choreographer and a drummer explore expectations through rhythm and movement as well as spoken language; and in Eva Fàbregas’ kinetic sculptures Self-Organised Systems, 2014, where packing materials become mobile, possibly changing the path of the viewer. At other times, the performative aspect is suggested through the process of making – Reto Pulfer’s stitching; Jaimini Patel’s process of observing, collecting and attending to materials; Ruth Proctor’s journey with makeshift souk umbrellas from Morocco; Aaron Tan’s gathering and display of personal effects; and Anne Tallentire’s work that mediates the space between building material and a photographic image, referencing the construction of temporary shelters in a youth centre in Calais.
Eva Fabrégas’ Self-Organising System, 2014, is a colony of objects including polystyrene foam inserts, edge protectors and other industrial packing materials, all of which were originally designed for protecting consumer goods and fragile items in transit. Styrofoam materials are as ubiquitous as they are essential to the global circulation of commodities, but reaching their destination they are immediately discarded. Here, a group of these found materials navigate the exhibition space, moving around slowly and interacting with one another as a community of their own, while the viewer is encouraged to seek patterns in their behaviour. Left to their own devices, these minimal objects remain within the sphere of circulation but are no longer in need of human agency to instigate their mobility.
With the title, The new Moon with the old Moon in her arm, 2018, Jaimini Patel references the appearance of the new moon as the light reflected from earth reveals the dark side of the moon. Emerging are contemplations on cycles, nourishment, light, growth, time, and repetition. A drop of water containing blue-green algae lands as a bead on the surface of paper. As the water evaporates, the drop shrinks and the algae settles on the outskirts forming a darker ring delineating its border. With an oil drop, however, it is difficult to define its edge and to know when it has come to rest; a line has to be approximated. In this work each series of daily practices and singular gestures gravitate to each other, as colour mutates, edges bleed and forms come in and out of visibility.
Ruth Proctor’s two new patchwork fabric pieces Freedom of Movement (Aourir), 2018, hang side by side providing an anchor for each other and affirming an existence that is not singular. With an interest in heterotopias, the being in and of multiple locations at the same time, Proctor was drawn to the multiplicity of origins held within these works and the further transformation promised by her own intervention. Proctor bought these at a marketplace in Morocco where they served as makeshift umbrellas protecting vendors and their products from sun and rain. Each small patch of fabric has its history of manufacturing – becoming garments, table clothes and curtains, then again assembled to form a shelter. Proctor introduces a double layer of dislocation; from market to gallery. Proctor’s journey alongside their constructed togetherness take us through different stages of displacement questioning the concept of what is located and what is dislocated. In the gallery setting any previous purpose is rendered obsolete and the viewer is invited to consider the qualities found in an object made out of necessity and practicality.
Staircases and other liminal spaces such as doorways and corridors recur throughout Reto Pulfer’s practice. His Small Sirius Staircase, 2015, reflects an interest in states of being, as these objects and spaces highlight a time or space of transition, the in-between. The title for the staircase references the stars, as with the new wall-based fabric piece, The buttons have been rendered useless as they represent the starry sky, 2018. Like stars, the buttons sewn on the fabric differ in size and colour. They were collected by his grandfather who trained as a tailor but never fulfilled his ambition. Pulfer’s act of sewing these buttons actualises an unrealised dream by relinquishing their potential and resuscitating them in renewed form.
This Door, this Window (Esta Puerta, Esta Ventana), 2017, by Alex Reynolds emerged from the desire to make a portrait of Alma Söderberg and Nilo Gale, a choreographer and a musician with whom she shares an obsession with rhythm. Both of them were filmed in the same space, but not at the same time. Whilst they never appear together onscreen, the synchronicity of their rhythms, pauses, and movements produce an effect of coexistence, The rehearsal room they inhabit is like a physical rendering of the only place that holds them together: the virtual space of a film. Sound is not only the way in which they first appear together, it is their only way of being together. This Door, This Window sits somewhere between portraiture and sonic performance, the result of fantasising with a calculated and perverse use of sound and rhythm in order to consciously invade, connect, and alter the body.
In Anne Tallentire’s new work GF3-3, 2018, a juxtaposition of elements comprise the work; a photograph made during the building of a youth centre in Calais in January 2016 and materials used in construction. These address spatial, temporal aspects of image and material. GF3-3 takes its title from a logistics factory setting related to the manufacture and supply of the OSB boards (orientated strand board) engineered from wood strands that are layered, compressed and bonded with resin. Sections of these boards, balanced, layered and propped underneath and around the photograph (printed on news print) reference stasis and the incomplete whilst producing a tension between that which is depicted and forms of depiction itself.
In dialogue with the architecture of the gallery, Aaron Tan’s new works manifest as a series of material and spatial encounters, which folds in the circulation of the public into a private lexicon. Receipts, notations, thread, magnets, packing cardboard, screws, aluminium plates, clothing and architectural elements are assembled and dispersed across the gallery, moving through spaces of inhabitation and currencies of exhibition making. Positions are roused, but then quickly flipped, or re-configured; a cut out of a pair of trousers solicits a rear entry into the space, the writer becomes the reader, a vitrine doubles up as a notice board, often to be found in designated communal spaces. What emerges in this disarticulated reading across scales, motifs and legibilities is not a question of figuration but that of event and choreography – how our bodies move from the contingency of spaces into a politics of alterity, backwards into forwards, and then backwards again, and into the gaps and openings of which absence points, that of the fugitive, the transient, and the queer.Ruth Proctor, Freedom of Movement (Aourir), 2018. Mixed fabrics 290 x 280 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens. Photo: Andy Keate