Nothing in life is totally black or white, not even a show where all 38 works have been selected solely for their artistic quality and adherence to this simple monochrome scheme. In this exhibition the shady grey area is partly provided by the curatorial involvement of artist Ryan Gander. Known for his rigorous and conceptually clever ideas, Gander’s hand in the proceedings does pose the question of whether this is purely his personal promotion of British-based talent, given a random unifying theme, or whether there are more complex ideas afoot. On further inspection I’m happy to go with the former. Part of what Gander’s own work does is to make the viewer think harder about what they are seeing. Doing so here, even if there actually is no hidden agenda to uncover, does at least mean that the art is given proper attention.
Works that caught my eye include Steven Emmanuel’s neatly boxed, gnarled-looking piece of paper folded over seven times and secured with a screw; Dan Rees’s canvas hung in a corner, with its thick white paint splodged onto the opposite wall with Rorschach-esque effect, and Matt Golden’s found, double-take landscape photograph ‘Looking at a Scottish Lake, Dreaming of Mount Fuji’. There is of course the matter of the Saatchi-referencing title. But as it’s ‘Young British Art’ rather than ‘Young British Artists’, it’s an accurate reflection of the individual works having been made in the last couple of years – apart from Giorgio Saddoti’s photograph ‘Fifty Truths (THE TRUE ARTIST DOES NOT ALWAYS THINK)’ which was made in 1993. Perhaps there’s more here after all?