The Democracy of Objects

Art Free
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The relationship between objects and photographic representation is the main theme of this small group show of young artists. That might sound a tad academic but the works themselves are generally pretty punchy and smart, if perhaps occasionally veering towards the frivolous. In Danish collective A Kassen’s series, ‘The Colour of Things’, photographs of various objects (a stone, a pot plant, a chintzy elephant teapot) are displayed next to monochrome wall paintings, the pigments of which are composed of those same objects pulverized to a paste, raising the question of which provides the more literal depiction. There’s a similar idea of reflexivity, though perhaps slightly more forced, in their triptych portraying a dilapidated botanical house in Copenhagen – the works’ glass and wood frames made from found materials depicted in the photograph.

Ivan Argote’s films are more concerned with playfully puncturing the status of objects that are familiar or iconic: folding a dollar bill to make George Washington alternately frown and smile or placing a fallen nose in front of the Louvre’s Sphinx statue. Sure, it’s whimsical – but the Colombian artist’s work can also be oddly affecting, like when he dances to music in front of a Malevich painting as a kind of equivalent gesture of pure, uncontaminated feeling.

Finally, there’s a more reflective, despondent tone to Abigail Reynolds’s small glass-and-paper assemblages: in the form of pages lifted from books, notions of the artificial and man-made are contrasted with wistful images of nature and utopian bliss. Here, the images literally are a kind of object and yet, somehow, this only serves to emphasize how intangible, how completely imaginary, these sorts of ideals ultimately are.

Gabriel Coxhead



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Event phone: 020 7637 2106
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