15 Aug – 25 Aug 2008
pics: nolionsinengland except where noted
A battered white transit van sits on Cork Street, “Vandals” it proclaims and sure enough it seems to have suffered a graffiti attack, cops and wardens eye it suspiciously anticipating a ram raid and in many respects they are right.
No regal gilded windows for this show, rather a wildstyle Zeus sculpted arrow bursts through the window threatening to penetrate one of (count ‘em) 2 Ferrari’s parked outside, Eine promises HELL within. Its not difficult to predict the rapid disappearance of Eine shutters off the Hackney streets when the price tag on this sprayed window becomes common knowledge among the sub-nation of shop owners.
Israeli Know Hope has chronicled on streets around the world the despairing interaction with a puzzling society of a gangly, insecure tee shirt covered character, distinguished by his long skinny arms, lost heart and melancholy expression.
In the major installation, the un-named character sits entranced by a collection of old photos, kindling rose tinted memories of a by gone age which he hopes existed. Powered by the glow of this hope, confused scrawled noise on the TV screen intermittently resolves itself into a heart, only to distort again as he oscillates through doubt and hope.
This endearing bemused and slightly forlorn figure sits in several stunning framed collage pieces (one a partial light box), sometimes in lonely solitude, in others finding the solidarity of communication with kindred spirits. One fabulous piece shows our stringy anti-hero discovering the strength of bonding through linked arms, reflecting the power transmitted through the linked cables behind.
Know Hope: These Arms Are For Linking
After rocking the concrete skimmed canvasses at his London solo show last autumn, Eine has re-discovered the dayglo colours of his older bear images, which I never really cared for. Perspex is this year’s “found metal” (see D*Face, Pure Evil). The street playtime innocence of groups of Blyton-esque happy smiley children morphs into threatening and sinister subversion seen through the lenses of the ubiquitous CCTVs, the poor children are then overwhelmed by simple negative labels such as Vandals, Activist, Guilty done in that Hell font. Of course you can tell it’s street play, because of the paint spray background and drips everywhere.
In addition to his window busting 3D sculpture, Zeus has three large compressed perspective skyscraper plans painstaking assembled in hand-cut card, one natural daylight coloured, one night time and one a blanched out magnolia – which interestingly is possibly the most striking of the trio. There are no winos, car wrecks or graffiti down at street level, c’mon, what kind of rose-tinted diluted reality is that! Anyone who was at the Open Studio last year and saw Zeus working on his RUN stencil won’t fail to appreciate the incredible work that has gone into creating these pieces and don’t worry if this time you can’t read the word spelled out by the building plan, it’s not that wild style has moved beyond your comprehension, this time there actually isn’t a word in there. Or is there? Blow your brains out searching!
Labrona’s Rumours of War, an acrylic on canvas group of fleeing mothers clutching children heading in the opposite direction to goose stepping half-sized men with moustaches. This piece with its colourful cross between Picasso and a kind of tribal art feel is another show highlight, simply lush and gorgeous.
Charming Baker takes a pop at a deserving target: molly coddled never-fail kids. Two young brats fail to fail with their dads as ghillies helping them shoot a strung up rabbit.
Hush continues a run of form with the manga and geisha girls, or we boys know it – wife-friendly wall porn. Manga tits are present and correct as expected whilst the Graff Geisha triptych is just stunning.
New name Michael Alacoque has produced a lurid set of skull faced dogs with ice creams on their heads and medallions. This is an allegory on the military establishment’s use of war memorials to both commemorate and promote war, I’m surprised you needed to ask. It is said many artists subconsciously paint themselves when doing an anonymous figurative work, Alacoque brilliantly contrived to actually look a bit like his sculptures with his bouffant hair and mascara.
This kind of show has no greater thrill when you confront in the flesh work by an overseas artist you hadn’t even heard of before and new but highly commended is young Brazilian artist Andre Firmiano. Three gorgeous canvas portraits echo a bastard offspring of Titifreak and Word To Mother styles, more please!
Among familiar images of Mona and Toughen The Fuck Up, Dotmasters brings indoors the Burlesque Girl and his CANS “What A Load Of Rubbish”. Dotmasters have wisely, since these pieces are destined for the living room, decided not to overload with the authentic piss, vomit and dog-shit normally associated with a pile of bin bags.
Having experienced vicariously through the lenses of NY based flickr-ocrats the exquisite street works of Gaia and Imminent Disaster, the two are shown in different rooms here. Gaia’s Ourobus combines a nest of tail devouring snakes with a man devouring his own fist. Imminent Disaster’s wistful, seated, buttoned-up and extravagantly coiffured Ophelia looks like she can sit on chairs with the front right chair-leg sawn off. The viewer may ponder if the weight is meant to fall on the model’s own ankles on the box, in which case what does it mean?