Show open Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Tension fine art.
135 Maple Road, SE20
Cell Graffiti is my new solo show at Tension Fine Art. Visiting the London Galleries as a jogger helps give an objectivity to the shows, I feel, as you are grinding out those last few miles and reflecting on the art in a state of ego-less exhaustion. So here I should try to be similarly objective about my own show if only through mentioning how the gallery owner and curator, Ken Turner encouraged me to stretch beyond the comfort zone with this installation.
Much of the following review, then, focuses on this experience. Our remit, Ken says, is to take risks and question what art is and what art can be. Hence it was the ping-pong ball theme that caught Ken’s interest and one that I was happy to explore further, encouraged by our shared interests in drawing and unusual media.
Ostensibly the show is ultra traditional since it focuses on themes that reach back to the Italian Renaissance, namely anatomy and humanism. Cell Graffiti is a metaphor for the sort of complex machinery that cells actually produce within themselves and which we simply call proteins. 500 years after Leonardo, then, anatomy has become microscopy whilst humanism, a belief that shared genetic heritage can unite animals, humans and yeasts alike.
Whether one agrees with these sentiments is a matter of personal judgement, but I’ve certainly never expressed them with a walk-through artwork before. Ken reminded me when doubt crept in that I had to be ambitious. Thus the ping-pong ball cell membrane has rightly ended up in the doorway to the gallery feeling the stresses and strains of constant use. No easy option was taken here of just sticking it onto a wall with a price tag.
Though the work is for sale, the main emphasis is to allow the artists freedom to experiment. So, as a postscript to this review, when the current show by myself comes down and the next installation goes up we will see scaffolding, mattresses and builder’s tresses I believe! Tension will not only be accommodating this next round of drilling and madcap ideas, but true to its name, will be actively encouraging it!