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Whitehot reviews Objet Dada

August 9, 2011

Check out Anne Blood’s review of Objet Dada for Whitehot Magazine


Rebus at Simon Lee Gallery

August 8, 2011

Rebusthe latest offering from Simon Lee Gallery, places the notion of objecthood under scrutiny – with surprising results. Anne Blood reports.

The smell of garlic when walking into Simon Lee Gallery is overwhelming. While sensory experience is not the focus of their current exhibition, Mircea Cantor’s work Underestimated consequence (2011) – a large steel basket over a metre square filled with garlic bulbs – dominates the gallery space. Its simple composition consisting of two elements – steel and garlic – and its narrow colour scheme – shades of white – are so common-place as to be ignored. Yet they are balanced by the mismatched meeting of textures: between the dry, flaking peels of the garlic and the cool steel of the container, all drawn together by the powerful garlic smell.

The title of this exhibition, Rebus, comes from the Latin word for ‘things’ and the show is intended to serve as a platform from which to consider the re-contextualization and re-appropriation of daily objects or images as a means of delivering a subversive and critical message. Curated by Mario Codognato, the exhibition encourages the viewer to consider the multiplicity of meanings that an object holds: from the primary meaning derived from its selection and historical relevance to secondary meanings that relate to its context, juxtaposition or manipulation.

While the focus on objects provides a unifying clarity to the exhibition, several of the works on display rely as much on their titles, on language, as they do on their materiality and context for their overall meaning. Whether functioning as a straight forward denotation of the place of a work in a series, such as Matias Faldbakken’s SCREW PIECE #1 or SCREW PIECE #2 or a banal, clear-cut label or statement of fact such Hans-Peter Feldman’s Flower Pots, the titles of works set a clear mood and direction from which the viewer is encouraged to approach them. Other pieces invite a much more complex, sometimes poetic relation of work with title. Sisley Xhafa’s quietude is a shopping trolley loaded with cobblestones. The disjunction of association between the silence of the title and the noise associated with shopping at the grocery store or thunderous bang of a hammer hitting cobblestones, the rumble as vehicles roll over the stones or the clicks of heels on the hard surface, add an unexpected depth to the piece. The titles of the works here often help to shift an object from a ‘thing’ to an ‘objet d’art’, such as the simple electrical heater that is the single element in Merlin Carpenter’s Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down.

Lucid, playful and diverse, Rebus is well worth the trip to Simon Lee.


Rebus is at Simon Lee Gallery until 20th August 2011.

Timeout reviews Objet Dada

August 3, 2011

Martin Herbert offers an insightful review of Objet Dada for Timeout:

FAD reviews Objet Dada

July 25, 2011

Check out FAD’s review of Objet Dada at Edel Assanti Project Space:

Idol Magazine reviews Objet Dada

July 25, 2011

Check out Idol Magazine’s review of Objet Dada at Edel Assanti Project Space:                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Review: Matthew Day Jackson – Everything Leads to Another

July 22, 2011

In the run up to its final week, Anne Blood reviews Matthew Day Jackson’s recent body of work on show at Hauser & Wirth, London.

Matthew Day Jackson has remarked that he is interested in the interconnectedness between disparate things,between art history and rap music, for instance, or nuclear testing and paranormal activity; as the title of his current exhibition declares, ‘everything leads to another’. Given Jackson’s stated concern for broad and unexpected relationships, it is hardly surprising that the artist’s current exhibition across both gallery spaces of Hauser & Wirth includes an eclectic range of objects and themes. However the connections which Jackson so eloquently lists unfortunately result in a collection of new works of varying degrees of success.

The artist’s photographs of two life-sized golems – one sweet and one savoury –take the shape of Jackson’s body. Perhaps intended as a clever re-interpretation of Anthony Gormley’s practice of exploring the form and proportions of his own figure, the resulting images draw less attention to the question of form and instead bear closer visual resemblance to a Heston Blumenthal food experiment gone wrong.

The exhibition does, however, find strength with two superb works in the North Gallery, Axis Mundi (2011), a sculpture re-purposing the cockpit of a Boeing B-29, and Reflections of the Sky (2010), a mammoth moonscape. Standing grandly in the centre of the gallery, like a prop left over from a classic science-fiction film, Axis Mundi dominates the space, reflecting everything in its silvery mirror surface. While its shiny form speaks of an unknown future of space-age exploration, the body itself holds a darker past: the B29 aircraft that the structure is fashioned from is the same model that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here Jackson’s connection between disparate ideas – the utopian project of space travel and the ultimate devastation of the atomic bomb – express a sort of apocalyptic poetry.

A similar strange elegance is also found in the triptych Reflections of the Sky. Here rendered completely in shades of grey, the surface of the moon takes on the peaceful tranquility of Monet’s waterlily paintings. Jackson describes this work as a meeting of Impressionism and the moon; the harmony in the work is not found in the meeting of these two seemingly disparate subjects but in the common pictorial language of landscape. Although Jackson’s connections may not always form a satisfactory whole, when he unites dissonant tones, he produces a wonderful chord.

Matthew Day Jackson: Everything Leads to Another is at Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row until 30th July 2011.

Interview: Robert Lazzarini

July 18, 2011

In his sculptures, Robert Lazzarini twists everyday objects so that they are at once unrecognisable and utterly familiar. Here he talks to Celia White about what this material manipulation involves, and about the work he is showing in Edel Assanti’s current exhibition Objet Dada.

Celia White: Could you begin by describing the work you have on show at Edel Assanti, and how it fits into your wider practice?

Robert Lazzarini: Phone (white) (2011) is a color variant on a work from 2000, Phone. It’s based on the 500 series Bell Atlantic rotary phone that was so ubiquitous in the 20th century. The original phone, in Verona green, was one of three sculptures – a phone, a chair, and two hammers – that I used as the basis for a short-hand representation of my studio. It is one of a group of works that I describe as ‘planar distortions’, compound mathematical distortions that incorporate scale shifts, skews, accelerated and de-accelerated perspectives.

CW: This exhibition, Objet Dada, is a homage to the legacy of the readymade, supposedly initiated by Marcel Duchamp. How do you consider this legacy in relation to your own work?

RL: Although my sculptures are reconfigurations of pre-existing objects in a more extreme sense, by eliminating material translation, my sculptures sidestep the notion of artistic materials. So, there is this one-to-one relationship between the mass-produced object and the new sculptural object.

CW: Although your ‘everyday’ objects are distorted, their visual effect relies as much on normality (i.e. the familiar perception of the object) as it does on abnormality. Which do you feel is more central to your work – normality or abnormality? 

RL: They work in conjunction with one another. This is ultimately an issue of the relationship between abstraction and representation. If the starting point was something already abstracted, the new sculpture wouldn’t have a tension with the original object. Part of the discourse of my work is to mine the area in between the object being what it is and what it isn’t.

CW: When looking at your work, in particular the telephone in this exhibition, the disruption of the visual also brings out an awareness of the material elements that make up everyday objects (the plastic used to make the mass-produced phone, for instance). Do you regard materiality as an important facet, or by-product, of the visual manipulation that you employ?

RL: Ultimately, my endeavour involves manipulating the fabric of the world. When I approach a subject to use, I’m absolutely thinking about its material qualities. That being said, the objects are distorted in relation to their form and not to their material properties.

CW: The idea that a mass-produced object, selected rather than made by an artist, can constitute art is what underlies Duchamp’s original gesture with the readymade. But do you feel that in distorting everyday objects you personalise them in some way? Does your work invite us to see these objects in a more subjective, individual way if their shape is already interpreted and distorted by you?

RL: I think we incorrectly think of the readymade object as just an off-the-shelf item recontextualized as an artwork. However, the readymade object was slightly altered in that it often had writing or an inscription on it. So beyond selection, the readymade is a personalised object (think R.Mutt). My works are personalised in that they collectively make up a vocabulary of choices within my practice; choices about subject, form, and ideas. Yet ideally I’d like the viewer to be thinking about that original object, and how this new sculpture, fully formed, defies visual grasp.