My City – part 2 ‘Heterotopia’
2014 by Yunsun Jung
Vyner Street Gallery
Jung’s series ‘My City’ uses cardboard to constructs explosive and energetic installations, a sharp twist on the usual masses of the stuff we see spilling out of our recycling bins. Of course the material is deliberate, copious amounts of cardboard represents our endless appetite for things; it is the packaging of our material world. In its cycle of use, re-use and recycling, Jung builds her city from a body that, like the city itself, is constantly being reborn. Jung’s cardboard is far from the crumpled on the recycling pile, but beautifully cut and manipulated into a series of perfect shapes. Their careful execution adds to their poignancy – these crisp edges and smooth surfaces could be crushed. Indeed, they take the shape of all that is fleeting as Jung moves from place to place, from city to city. These are the shapes that amass our lives through each metropolis: some are recognisable – a plane, a humorous spider; some are not, as giant zig-zags and curves erupt with unkempt and questioning energy. The word ‘Sainsbury’s’ slides pathetically along the floor, defeated by the boxes that package its consumer goods. Colour intermittently distracts from the overwhelming and ironically earthy brown in seemingly random and non-sensical objects; a large jagged cardboard arm leads to a sad, abandoned pile of clothes. Jung’s installation is powerful because it manages to express a frustration we all feel, an explosion of stuff and rubbish at living in an ever-expanding world.
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THE WORLD EXISTS TO BE PUT ON A POSTCARD
2013 by Simon Cutts
Simon Cutts’s art invites us to a place where the lines between ‘a work of art’ and print overlap. Books have been considered art for decades; before the printing press any illustration would have been an original, and it is words on a page that inspire some of our most intense imagination. Cutts harnesses this powerful medium to create artworks that require this different level of interaction. In the 1975 work Poinsettia, Cutts made his ‘book’ out of a white box, which conceals two ‘pages’ (seemingly made of clothing name-tape) suspended by string – the left reading in green ‘my favourite flowers’ , the right in red ‘are leaves’; an image could not have better conjured this eccentric plant. THE WORLD EXISTS TO BE PUT ON A POSTCARD is just as powerful, suspending this loaded phrase in the centre of one of the most influential forms of material communication. The phrase is emphasised through its being built into its very medium – the black embossed lettering is carved into the thick pulp of the paper, so thick that the letters remain invisible on the other side. These words are given weight, as the postcard stands stiff in our hand. As people take pains over selecting a postcard that represents something – whether it be a holiday, a sentiment or exhibition – Cutts has cast the world as a selection of loaded images, ripe for the printing. Cutts is playing with a phrase of the French poet Mallarmé, “…que tout, au monde, existe pour aboutir à un livre” – everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book – which, printed on the back of the card, reflects that often the world does seem to exist just so you can tell someone about it. Immediately evocative of the countless images that we’ve ever wanted a postcard of, Cutts’s card could be sent to anyone.
2013 by Dickon Drury
The Other Art Fair 2013
The Other Art Fair has moved with Moniker to The Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane. With stands run by artists, rather than galleries, the East London setting seems bang on; although many galleries have moved back West, artists’ studios are rife here and it feels fitting that their fair stands alongside. Walking round the fair is slightly daunting; with the work’s artist always hovering nearby, initial reactions (whether facial or vocal) need to be curtailed, your viewing coming under constant scrutiny. Having said that, it is refreshing to have the artist on hand to explain and talk about their work, their enthusiasm infectious and your understanding embellished. Dickon Drury was one of the best, the fantastical painter whose lush green paintings beckon viewers into another world. The green of the trees appears to drip with the hot and luxurious steam of palm houses, thickening the paint to seem wet and alive with the jungle. This heavy mist hangs in the distance, blending the sky to a balmy and diluted turquoise. Light is brilliant, as Drury leaves his bright skies unashamedly pure, making leaves dance as white scatters them into pattern. In Jungle Boogie Drury also gives us a curious little group of nudes; standing round a camp fire – one in a hands-on-hip stance – they appear to be posing for the image, friendly and unabashed. This intriguing naked group kindle the feeling of nature within Drury’s paintings; clothes would seem out of place here and their pinkish bodies appear in harmony with the deep jungle that surrounds them. They beckon us in, inviting us to join them before they disappear into the undergrowth.