Curator, Sarah Elson, stitches together an exhibition of work by artists from the Bow Arts Trust with a common thread of insecurity brought on by contemporary events. This exhibition attempts to address the range of physical, psychological, and emotional responses that are invoked in a time of increased national security, economic recession and global warming. To interpret these large-scale topics Elson has chosen figurative responses. Delicate and personal, the experience becomes immediately engaging.
Entering the gallery space is like interrupting an aviary. Visitors are greeted with a stunning flock of origami birds that rise from the pages of redundant books on the floor. The work, History, Withdrawn by Suzana Tamamovic, utilises Yugoslavian history texts that have been withdrawn from the London Library and considered no longer relevant. On the one hand, the piece concerns the fallacy of history. On the other, use of recycled material sets the semantic field of ‘found objects’ that litter the rest of the show.
The range of mixed media in each room acts as a showcase for the ability that raw creativity and remarkable craftsmanship has to capture an audience. Employment of inexpensive methods to create works performs a cohesive action that characterizes the exhibition’s raison-d’etre. Corinne Felgate uses her own auburn locks in the creation of Hairbrush whilst Paul Good finds an alternative use for Blutack in Untitled (Reworked).
The highlight of the show captured the attention of a group of school children whilst I was there. Their attempt to figure out Silke Dettmers’ impossible dolls house structure was an appropriate personification of a work that deals with the dumbfounding issue of re/de-generation in this East London area. It touches on the fear of displacement as the 2012 Olympics approach and becomes theatrical in its humorous form. A fine statement to make, performing a reminder that there can still be lightness amidst the weighty peril!
(Image: DAVE FARNHAM, Untitled The Unknown Soldier 001, 2009, Lambda print on aluminium sub frame, Edition-x3 2xAPS, 100x80cm; courtesy of the artist and Nunnery)