Monday, January 17, 2011

Cath Campbell: 'Enter Slowly,' The Lab, San Francisco, USA

Image: '50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (No.48)', Cath Campbell, 2009, Cut modular exhibition panels, 500 x 350 x 300 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK


Anna Barham, Cath Campbell, Maud Cotter,

Laura Gannon, Alexandra Navratil, Linda Quinlan

Curated by David Cunningham

The Lab, San Francisco, USA

January 14th - February 19, 2011
Gallery Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 1-6pm

Join us on Saturday January 15th at The Lab for artist talks by Maud Cotter and Laura Gannon.

ENTER SLOWLY, is an international group exhibition featuring the work of six emerging artists from Europe whose individual practices (while collectively diverse), frequently overlap, intersecting in areas of common interest. Sharing a preoccupation with the ways in which architecture, language and memory function as framing devices and filters deployed in the manipulation of perception and the construction of 'meaning', their work simultaneously critiques, reveals (makes visible), undermines and reverses the systems, structures and technics involved in these fabrications, reflecting them back on themselves.

Working across categories, sometimes collaborating with architects, dancers, engineers, mathematicians, musicians and experts in other fields of specialization, these artists approach their work as a form of research or field of inquiry that tests the limits of what is known, what is possible and what can be described. Often employing found or self-devised rule-based systematic structures or 'games', working with and against a set of limits to paradoxically establish fields of potential and freedom where meaning as commonly understood is not pinned or fixed but mutable, the artists in this exhibition open up multiple points of entry to the work, exhibiting a heightened concern with, and sensitivity to, the speed at which a work can be entered.

A concern with interiority and the temporal, marked by some form of inversion (literally turning 'inside out') is a further characteristic of many of the works. Limning the boundary between thought and utterance, evoking linguistic and philosophical concepts such as 'speech acts' and 'language games' the ghosts of early modernism's mavericks and problem children (Samuel Beckett, Eileen Gray, Frederick Kiesler, James Joyce, Adolf Loos, Ludwig Wittgenstein and others) quietly haunt the works in this exhibition, which in its turn gently invokes and re-extends an earlier invitation stenciled on the interior wall of a certain - 'house beside the sea' – the last built thing Le Corbusier would have seen as he drowned.

"… formulas are nothing; life is everything" – Eileen Gray

Using the ancient Roman city of Leptis Magna, as both metaphor and material, Anna Barham makes drawings and videos in series, charting anagrams derived from the letters in the city's name. Positing the appropriation, displacement and re-assembly of fragments of the actual ruins in Libya (to construct a 'new' imaginary ruin at Windsor Great Park for King George IV in 1816) as an architectonic analog for language and imagination, Barham presses the individual letters into service as 'building blocks' for fantastical new poetry and prose. The exhibition will include '(Tangram) Posture' a recent large-scale sculptural installation, its anagrammatic alter ego 'Proteus' (video) and an audio installation of Barham's reading of the entire text of her just published 'Return To Leptis Magna', 2010.

Cath Campbell will present only the second full scale realization to date of an installation from her series of fifty proposed architectural interventions titled '50 Ways To Leave Your Lover' - along with an accompanying video and a selection of cutout drawings of real and invented architectural spaces rendered in paper and steel. Palimpsest-like and often inspired by spaces that are inaccessible, the drawings (like the interventions) borrow their titles from sentimental pop songs suggesting that architecture can be used as a metaphor for states of being. Cath Campbell is represented by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead (UK).

Maud Cotter's large-scale modular sculpture 'More Than Anything' situates itself at the interface between architecture and sculpture. Installed differently at each location, Cotter pushes and tests the limits of the piece until it's nature shifts in direct relationship to the place in which it is exhibited, landing somewhere between sculpture and structural system. Starting with a small basic unit it formally clusters and swarms becoming a mechanism or collective force that ingests space. Infinitely reconfigurable the piece has no single identity or fixed reading. Maud Cotter is represented by Rubicon Gallery, Dublin (Ireland).

In her Film 'A House in Cap-Martin' (shot at Eileen Gray's seminal modernist House E.1027) Laura Gannon creates a fictional performance allowing us to 'enter' into the history(s) of this contested site, creating an opening in an already heavily mediated story which over time has assumed the status of a myth. The name of the house derived from a simple game in which the initials of Gray and her then lover were intermingled and represented by their numerical order in the alphabet. Standing as a 'ruin' for almost 30 years the house is currently undergoing a restoration, which is scheduled to be complete in early 2011. A new drawing installation by Gannon will accompany the film.

Alexandra Navratil will debut anew video work, 'Objects Perceive Me', 2010. Drawn from her extensive personal archive of research and source material this piece functions as a memory map, an index of associations and a network of ideas - further developing and extending her ongoing engagement with historical concepts of perception and their correlation with systems of representation in cinema, architecture and politics. Alongside the video she will present several new drawings derived from her research into monolithic architecture and lighting design. Studies in luminosity, opaqueness and transparency, the drawings (and the video) are strongly influenced by Wittgenstein's 'Remarks on Colour'. Alexandra Navratil is represented by Angels Barcelona, (Spain).

Linda Quinlan's video work 'Side Step', 2009 oscillates between two constructed images generated from a single source (a photograph taken by cave explorer Max Kaemper at Mammoth Cave in 1908). Emitting a rhythmic visual pulse, with each beat foregrounding the emergence of something attempting to take form, this motif of stacking and pleating is echoed in an accompanying audio work 'Step On', in which the contraction and expansion of the space between two spoken words enacts a paradoxical collision of assertion and contradiction - testing the reverberation of their meaning. Drawn to situations where things exist in a constant state of formation and a kind of perpetual motion, Quinlan is interested in how words and images rub against and interfere with what is heard and perceived, opening up a third space where alternate readings and perceptions can emerge.

This exhibition has been generously supported by:-
Imagine Ireland, Swissnex, Prohelvetica - Swiss Arts Council

Very special thanks to:-

Michael Goldwater, Michael Damm, Richard T. Walker, Daniel Healy, Jorge Bachmann, Michael Ryan,
Terrance Graven, Honey McMoney, Scott Tsuchitani, Ernesto, Randy Colosky and Miguel Arzabe
for their time and assistance with fabrication and the installation of this exhibition and
Eilish Cullen, Mary Anne Kluth, Bryan Von Reuter and the board and programming committee of The Lab for their generous invitation to curate an exhibition in this very particular space.

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