Making and Unmaking at the Camden Arts Centre July/August 2016

Camden Arts Centre

Although One of my aims in London was to visit spaces I haven’t been to before I couldn’t resist visiting the Camden Art’s Centre as I really like the space and how they curate the shows there. It is the perfect sized place for me. Big enough to allow some depth and/or variety of ideas but never overwhelming. This is where I first saw the work of Marlene Dumas and Fishli and Weiss in thought provoking shows.

Making and Unmaking curated by fashion designer Duro Olowu was very different. It was an eclectic mixture of works in a wide variety of media, many of which I respond to on a basic level, the hand made, the textiles especially. It also introduced me to the work of artists that were new to me and which I found inspiring.

 

Eric Mack

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Indefinately felt 2016

Gallery website – Moran Bondaroff LA

This use of space and hanging of textiles was very compelling in the physical space. Looking at some other work on the gallery web page the artist pushes this physical presence of the fabric using walls and other hanging devises and always playing with the space around it.

 

lisa brice

Lisa Brice is a South African artist who I think I may have seen but not looked at properly before. Although I prefer the figurative work I find the tension with the abstract that is also there important. I also like this tension in the work which is finely balanced and only just resolved.

Lorna Simpson’s small collages where in more than one of the Camden Arts centre galleries. Some incorporated drawing/painting but these ones which play with the hair and the heritage of hairstyles stood out in their simplicity and strength.

lorna simpson

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James Brown, Some Neighbors in the Garden of My Other House (detail), 2013 – this long collage was displayed slightly raised but low along the floor and was indeed rather like a garden being much longer than this image.The piece comes from a work in which the artist literally created another house. From the images I have seen of these installations the house is heavy with heritage and is dark and looks oppressive. This collage was much lighter. In part this was due to the light gallery in which it was placed but perhaps the ‘neighbours’ bought some relief. The scale of the collage made it like a long journey as it was so long that you had to walk around it to discover what it shows.

The most impressive thing about the exhibition was the curating by Duro Olowu which I think creates an energy much more powerful than individual pieces might be. Although there is some great work. It introduced me to unknown artists whilst setting them alongside well known works or works by well known artists. I also think that whilst textiles bound the works together the diversity of the media and the madeness of the work and its focus on process kept the pieces alive and bouncing off each other. It was an unexpected delight as I only went in by chance whilst visiting Sigmund Freud’s House.

 

The Wolf Man and Mark Wallinger at the Freud Museum 27th July.

As a part of my plan to visit museums I have never been to in London, especially smaller collections, I went to the Freud Museum at the end of July. I had heard that contemporary artists have been invited to intervene in the space and collection at Freud’s house in London. During my visit I was also impressed by the wolf paintings made by Freud’s patient Sergei Pankejeff years after he had been after a significant patient of Freud who had used his dream of the wolves in his research. Pankejeff had a recurring dream as a child of 6 or 7 wolves sitting in a tree outside his bedroom. The paintings which were made many years later have only 5 wolves in the tree but I found them very compelling and arresting as images. I am not sure if this is due to their naivety or the content as significant dreams, something that Freud obviously expanded on and which gives them a kind of power.

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Mark Wallinger’s intervention in Freud’s last house in London where he lived as an exile for the last year of his life. Wallinger has covered the wall above the therapist’s couch with mirrors and plays with the role of the therapist of reflecting the client’s mind on itself. This mirror above the couch creates an illusion of space and light above us all. It also give the room an amazing verticality. I have not been in the room without the mirrors but the reflection is very powerful. The action of the window cleaner feels like a task which is complimentary to the work of the therapy/patient. The reflection of the couch alluding to the ‘magical’ effect of therapy.

The Freud Museum’s website