Bateman Row Arches, London
17 – 29 July 2009
all photos: NoLionsInEngland
I’m a sucker for Illusion rooms. From Cept’s mindblowing 3 week individual labour of love in Dalston last year to D*Face’s memorable Haring inspired room at his Apopalypse show, any time an artist gets to indulge themselves in something which is more experience than product, I raise a glass and a cheer.
Entering Insa’s show to find a large part of the space given over to a dis-orientating ultra-perspective black and white illusion room with a pair of chrome buttocks at its’ focal point presses all the right buttons.
The words Insa and fetish often appear in the same sentence. If you ever come across a website which has sidebar links such as Legs, stockings, heels, booty, candy pink, ankles and stilettos, chances are that INSA has started a porn site based on various favoured fetishes.
But before getting to that, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Insa has awesome skills with a spraycan. At the 2009 London Meeting Of Styles INSA got his name up with nice fades, sharp lines and a perfect facsimile of what since has been found to be the signature tune logo of 80s sitcom Cheers.
INSA’s warped stilettos have popped up on shutters, walls and boarded up shopfronts in colour (pink) and black and white across Shoreditch.
This Escheresque repeated image mural in a suitably sleezly Shoreditch location has been done more than once by INSA. Some people believe the sculpted piece is a heart, they could be right, even the PR company sits on the fence in its printed puffery, describing them as his trademark hearts/asses (which I thought was an animal Jesus rode in the bible. I always have seen these as a pair of buttocks and stocking topped thighs, perhaps I am tuned to the man’s wavelength.
Evidence of Insa’s presence on the street has even extended to reaches inside windows in derelict slum properties and stiletto paste-ups. Check out Insa’s pieces and production pages on his website (link at the bottom)
Back to the central feature. What is the point of Insa’s exercise? What is the……bottom line? Well, Insa must be aware that the shortest distance between two points on a 3 dimensionally curved surface is a curve. In Insa-world this translates into the shortest between any two points on a lady’s leg definitely being a curve, no matter how straight the seams on her stockings or the bands on the stripey tights may be. No curve shall go un-touched. The point of this work is not the huge display of perspective lines guiding into the chrome buttocks, or the two tone patterns on walls ceiling and floor, it’s about how the chrome buttocks turns those straight lines into curves, how the reflected lines caress the curve of the buttocks and generally about drawing attention to a bit of bootilicious magic, follow the landing lines, hurtle down those tracks and let your fingers trace those curves baby.
The show title “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places” is not immediately resolved by the work on display except possibly to the extent that the dominant piece of the room shares its’ title with the show. It is left to you to decide why the chrome arse piece should be graced with this moniker.
Of the more conventional framed art on the wall, most interesting is this twist on graffiti culture, where the lines of his repeated booty motif are overlapped to suggest a chain link fence and inside a “break in case of emergency” style box are a pair of wire-cutters, the train yard graffer’s best friend for effective access to secure train lay-ups.
The subtle but most extraordinary eroticism of the curves in the repeating motif is most evident in the pink print version, the essential femine curves are distilled down to a simple pop art abstract style.
Three monochrome mirrored screen prints continue the core themes of the stiletto, the “In All The Wrong Places” arse and the repeating arse, the challenge with each of these was distinguishing the reflection of the black and white illusion room from the print on the mirror itself, these mirrors probably will create a stunning effect in a different coloured room. Say pink for example.
The very large legs straddling the opening to the art room (there is an adjacent trainer salesroom or something) make an impression which leaves you in no doubt of two things, firstly Insa’s subject matter and secondly, the corporate logo providing the sponsorship. The humour in entering between the legs is not going to be lost on many and you need to sit outside the show looking in to appreciate how INSA has screwed around scale at the entrance in a “through the looking glass” manner.
Enter between the legs
It is of course easy to get prissy about the supping with the devil corporate connection with some of the work in the show but whatever it takes to give the funding and time to create this temple to the female curve is forgivable.
You might forgive the corporate logo integrated into one of the black and white prints too but I bet you wouldn’t put it on your wall. So, instead of that print, lets end contemplating how Insa manages to take that most effeminate of colours, pink and by combining it with black and white creates the effect of intense masculine fetishism and, here a little fun for the kids, scroll your screen up and down see how the surroundings around the arse throb. It’s what this work is all about.
These and a few other pictures from the show here
Insa’s pieces, productions and other shizz here