Paul B. Davis, 'B.Y.O.B.B. (Bring Your Own Bobby Brown)', 2008
Single channel DVD , 4.16mins
Experimental exhibitions are epidemic these days, so it's not surprising if you feel slightly bored when you come across yet another gallery with some new-fangled 'modern' concept behind its show. However, it's also a nice surprise when you come across an experimental exhibition that illustrates exactly why such exhibitions can be so rewarding.
SEVENTEEN gallery (as many galleries have done before them) has built an exhibition that explores the idea of art as a single entity in comparison to art in the context of a group exhibition, but unlike many galleries, SEVENTEEN has done it with intellect.
They have picked 10 artists to be in the exhibition but only one artwork is exhibited in the main gallery space at any one time. The artworks are rotated on a 48-hour circuit, decided at the curators' discretion. Those not on show will remain in the back gallery space - also on display but not in any traditional sense of the word. They stay hung haphazardly amongst the endless odds and ends which Graham Hudson has built as the backdrop to the exhibition. In characteristic fashion, he has collected countless objects found within a one-mile radius of the gallery, and constructed them in an apparently random manner across the winding floor.
The effect of rotating the artworks is that the viewer is encouraged to question and reflect upon curatorial practice, as well as the merit of each artwork individually and as a whole. The chaotic context within which they are displayed helps to fuel these musings, given that at times it is difficult to find the 'artworks' amongst the rubble and, at its worst, it is hard to distinguish what is 'art' and what is 'rubbish'.
There are a number of distinguishable gems amongst Hudson's rubble, namely the work of Ana Prvacki, a Serbian-born Singaporean multi-disciplinary artist. Her film, 'Tent Quartet, Bows and Elbows' is a playful and stylish film of a white tent, inside of which are a string quartet playing a piece composed by Ignas Krunglevicius. The cloth tent bulges and quivers dramatically as the arms and bows fly in and out, dancing along with the music. The effect is quite striking.
Across from Prvacki's screen is a piece by Lovett Codagnone. Typically sinister and sexual in manner; it takes the form of two glossy black megaphones suspended from the ceiling. Attached to their handles are delicate leather collars, evoking suggestions of bondage. Its title, 'To Breath In Always, Event Though It Kills', elicits countless different connotations and questions - which is a theme that characterises the exhibition. Amongst Hudson's charming detritus it is possible to discern a wealth of thought and contemplation. The ten international artists represent a breadth of knowledge and talent.
Quite surprisingly the curators of the exhibition remain nameless, having titled the exhibition: 'WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE CURATORS WHO WISH TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS'. The effect of this is similar to that of a dogme film where the omission of the directors' names in the credits makes them particularly conspicuous. The absence of the directors/curators' names only serves to emphasise their involvement in the making of the film/exhibition which most probably is the intention. We leave confused as to whether it is the artist, curator or both, which should be taking the credit for this interesting exhibition.
Katarina Horrox is a critic based in London.
WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE CURATORS WHO WISH TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS
Until 17 May
17 Kingsland Road
London E2 8AA