The Peripatetic School
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It is not unusual for medium-specific galleries to exhibit works that broaden the parameters of their chosen discipline. Frequently, this is attempted by presenting works by artists who predominately use an alternate technique. Only rarely is this done well. Whether desperate to unshackle the perceived constraints of the medium, or longing for contemporary validation (to appear à la mode), in doing this, spaces dedicated to one medium often appear to reduce their discipline to functioning as a conceptual tool. Impressively, this Drawing Room exhibition in its new south London venue, bringing together the work of ten ‘itinerant’ Latin American artists, kicks against this trend. It manages to expand notions of the gallery’s specialism while remaining utterly respectful of its lineage and traits.
The forms in Mateo Lopez’s ‘Nowhere Man’, a life-scaled installation featuring a low slung folding-bed, luggage and a writer’s desk strewn with tools, are mostly fashioned from paper. Like a stage-set for the idealised processes played out in this exhibition, it feels like the makeshift abode of an itinerant diarist or sketcher. Elsewhere, Nicolas Paris’s conceptual ‘Portable Garden’, a solitary green pencil, characterises the unified concerns of this show. Brígida Baltar’s inclusion of a site-specific work, a vulnerable drawing that intricately patterns the floor with red brick dust, is subtler. And less wistful are Tony Cruz’s animation works and Andre Komatsu’s ‘Constructing Worlds’ series, both of which look at urban impacts on the landscape.
Premised on the age-old affair between drawing and walking, each work featured in this show engages with the landscape as a subject. Further, each artist has used a range of strategies to explore the boundaries of drawing, mapping or recording. While some may find the selections a little neat or similar, it is undeniable that the curator has succeeded in presenting works that stretch and enrich our understanding of the discipline at hand.
The Peripatetic School continues at The Drawing Room until November 24 2011.