First UK solo of the Guatemalan artist
The Leicester-born sports personality-turned-conspiracy theorist David Icke may seem an unlikely source of inspiration for the Guatemalan artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa. But for an artist interested in the fertile zones between fact, folklore, history and mythology, the beliefs of a man convinced that the world is governed by a 6,000-year-old secret society of lizard-men called the ‘Babylonian Brotherhood’ must have been quite the find.
Apropos of Icke, Ramírez-Figueroa has given the works in the first room of this show the title of ‘Babylonian Fantasy’. These four boxy polystyrene sculptures are all variations of one other, each with a side covered in tuberous, maggot-like forms. Painted gold, but with all the telltale dents and pockmarks of the throwaway material they’re made from, they manage to look both abject and tacky. The artist has used similar objects like props in previous installations – and to greater effect.
Which is why it’s a delight to find the same material brought to life in the second room. Passing through a curtain, you enter a dark, UV-lit space filled with fluorescent boulders suspended in mid-air. The Oz-style theatrics register immediately, but it’s only as the scumbled dayglo pinks and blues take on dazzling op art qualities that the craft behind these objects becomes apparent. In the middle of it all hangs an enormous finger: the titular and one figurative element in the show. Icke’s theories may not be on overt display, but I’d be curious to know what he’d make of this sly, scintillating show.