2010 by Kate Janes
Central Saint Martins MA Show; http://www.katejanes.co.uk
Kate Janes’s work is visually probing and explorative in its three dimensionality; asking questions and making us think with her visual displays. Like many artists she turns to text for this, marrying the purely visual with the specificity of words. Stagestruck is instructive; using and manipulating words for their potential to directly articulate, even if the motive for articulation isn’t clearly apparent. This unexplained but base and straightforward aspect of her work allows the overall effect to be slightly cryptic. A black and white puzzle of meaning; vaguely Modernist in its clinical approach which explores ideas through signs and words. At the foot of the Janes’s sign of her name are a pair of simple black paper shoes quietly facing the wall – each foot marked with a ‘L’ and ‘R’. There is something personal about shoes left alone, perhaps because they belong on feet, and this hint of emotion is carried by Janes’s naming of herself; she becomes a presence in the corner. Feet and shoes are also particularly instructive, literally walking us to our destination, and this notion is made more poignant by the instructions playing on the video screen in the opposite corner of the room. The videoed instructions begin with the active words ‘Play’, ‘Move’ and ‘Make’ and in mentioning ‘the room’ provoke our imagination into seeing this suggested figure in the corner materialise into action. The hand (Janes’s hand) that writes these words is also suggestive – hauntingly object in its abstract state. The intrigue of silent text under spotlight, written clearly but spoken only within our heads, is one that strikes as vaguely amusing; stemming perhaps from characters holding signs to express themselves ridiculously. We may think of David Shrigley and ‘I’m Dead’. Here Janes’s Stagestruck takes away the cat, or anyone to hold at all, leaving us with words and a suggestive presence, both serving to intrigue.