Alice Channer: Out of Body

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Photo: Andy Neate. Image courtesy the artist and the South Lonodn Gallery
Installation view from Alice Channer: Out of Body at the South London Gallery, 2012.

At the centre of this sculptural installation of mirrored-steel arcs and polished marble rods sits an aluminium cast of a pair of Top Shop leggings. This stretchy garment and its offspring 'the jegging' – the denim skinny that imitates the trappings of the trouser, with none of the bulk – is ubiquitous on the high street, but not normally found elevated to sculptural status. This youthful fashion hybrid, and the artifice upon which it relies, speaks of many of the concerns at play in Alice Channer's new body of work, which continues her immersion in the materials and bodily adornments of post-industrial production.

Falling from ceiling to floor and dominating the gallery, three giant swathes of thin crêpe hold digitally distorted prints of stone-carved drapery. Taking her lead from the elegant forms of Yves Saint Laurent's 'Le Smoking' suits, Channer has Spandexed a set of thin armatures, titled 'Lungs'or 'Eyes', that run the length of the wall and invite the viewer to tilt and peer horizontally along their lines. More modest pieces such as 'Arms', a pair of lacquered cuffs, or 'Thighs', two machined and hand-carved marble columns, sit apart from the more effective fashion-forward works that relate to the architecture and metaphorically 'dress' the room.

Consistently layering ancient references and materials with those of our own time, Channer's is an unusual strain of sculpture. Her works have the look of a process-driven or intuitive practice, but this seems muddied by her intimacy with the digital and mechanical. Melding performative production with the slick consumerist modes of our age, Channer's is a provocative form of making.

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