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28.1.13

bank, dacs and sandback

Ooh. See what i did with the title there?
There's a subeditor rolling in his grave over that.





The weekend before this last one, I took some time between workly appointments to trip down New Bond Street on a mini gallery mission.

I mostly wanted to see the BANK exhibition at MOT INTERNATIONAL (so many caps!), but it was nice to see a David Jablonowski show at Max Wigram and a Fred Sandback show at David Zwirner to take in along the way.


BANK at MOT




I had heard of BANK - perhaps in relation to Melbourne's own cheeky anonymous collective, DAMP and also as part of the YBA cheeky bastards era of UK art. And I have always been into MOT as a gallery, so it felt right that the two seemed to meet up.

The exhibition is a collection of images, ephemera and original FAX BAK words, as well as a sculpture, a painting and a beautiful light box. It does all seem to be flirting with the exact commerce of art that the collective jabbed at for so long, but I'm sick of artists not being allowed to bit the hands that feed them, so I'd prefer to embrace this particular quirk.

And, if i had a medium-sized pile of money sitting around that i could invest in art, I would promptly buy all the FAX BAK originals. Not only because they are brilliant, but because I thoroughly enjoyed laughing maniacally at their content.

I didn't enjoy having to stifle said laughter because nobody else was laughing, but goddamn the works are hilarious. Not just for straight-up wit, but for the sheer embarrassing close-to-home-ness of it all. All that artspeak that I have been super guilty of using in press releases and blurbs about my work, ripped to shreds.

I enjoyed looking through the table of ephemera, although it was slightly overwhelming, and the lightbox was quite a beautiful object, as was the large-format black'n'white photograph. I can honestly say that I really didn't like the sculpture of the BANK team - it was a little too Devo without being Devo enough. But to not like one thing in a whole gallery of works - that's pretty good.



David Jablonowski at Max Wigram Gallery



I was intrigued by this show, especially as I popped into the Patricia Piccini show at Haunch of Venison on the way there (which featured a lot of work I had already seen in this show, so read that instead) and there seemed to be a recurring amount of waxy gunky being poured in the scene - crude oil in this case, bio-viscera in Piccinini's case.

The Jablonowski installations featuring lots of synthetic display-type, media-influenced materials, lots of silver powder coating and plastic shapes, combined with moving image and/or light. I'm still not sure if it was to my taste, although I wasn't completely repulsed. I am a little bored with install-on-floor, and would have liked to see the work get up a little - but there was a bit of 80s Patrick Bateman feeling about the show, which was interesting to me.

To be honest, I actually preferred the Pavel Büchler series of acid and nicotine drawings in the back - something about the simplicity of form and oxidisation process had me. I enjoyed looking at the studies of hands and the survey of the ways in which people hold cigarettes. And I usually can't stand work that glorifies smoking, drugs or alcohol (I think we deserve better art than that).


Fred Sandback at David Zwirner




But the highlight of the afternoon was easily the Fred Sandback show.

His work is site-specific installations of wool/thread lines and geometric shapes that play with perspective, triangulation, linear planes and dimensions. He uses simple colours, often black, red and blue, to outline and alter the relationship between the viewer and the space.

I first saw his work in Vienna at MAQ years ago it was so great to see work like this installed in a commercial gallery; to play with the space through perspective and simple movement, to have my sense of vision and spatial assumptions messed with in such a delicate and concise way - voilà.

The spiral staircase was the perfect place to install a floor-to-ceiling work and the variety of works and spaces created in the gallery was perfect, and the gallery was packed. So deserved.


Postscript
this blog didn't have anything to do with DACS, but it made nice wordplay, so you'll just have to forgive me.


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