The Dan Cox Library for the Unfinished Concept of Thingly Time

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4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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Twelve months ago the curator Dan Cox died, aged 28, after being hit by a lorry while cycling. This exhibition, a memorial and a perpetuation of the concept he didn't get to formulate fully, 'Thingly Time', is tripartite: Cox's library in handmade shelving units; pastel-coloured bulbosities by friend and collaborator Andy Holden, seemingly less sculpted than propagated; and a mini-exhibition of works resonating with Cox's thinking.

These, including Johnny Parry's repurposed video of a beached whale, Holden's wispy paper wasp's nest, and David Raymond Conroy's photograph of the tower of unread books he owns, suggest that 'Thingly Time' relates to how objects embody temporality – a lifespan, the length of something's making, time taken to read. But that's probably too simple, too linear.

Alongside volumes by Badiou, Erasmus, Murakami and, um, James Patterson, is a catalogue for Kettle's Yard, Cambridge – where the library was debuted – in which Cox relates time's duration to the 'chewiness' of the universe. Perhaps tellingly, among the most heavily thumbed books here is Deleuze and Guattari's 'A Thousand Plateaus', a renegade philosophy that's less a fixed argument than a spur for cerebral grappling.

This library (and associated reading groups) relatedly asks visitors to invent pathways through Cox's theorising, using the textual tools at hand. It's lit up by loss, inevitably, but also tenderly keeps his thought alive, extending its own duration.

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