Now that the snow is thawing and it’s safe to go out onto the streets again, Primo Alonso’s God is in the Details, whose run has been extended for another week, is definitely worth a visit. This small and unpretentious Hackney gallery, set away from the gauntlet that is nearby Vyner Street, has struck gold with this captivating exhibition. Stepping through the door is like walking into a borrower’s version of Narnia. As the name would suggest, it’s art that points to the otherworldliness of astonishing artistic achievement.
13 artists have been carefully put together under the unerring curatorship of Justin Hammond and Medeia Cohan-Petrolino, with the aim for a showcasing the technique and skill of the exhibitors. The curation is watertight, with all of the exhibiting artists are all working on the same scale – miniature craftings in pencil, paint, glass and print are a delight to explore, naturally interactive rather than forcefully so – and they share too the eponymous detail that their size at first belies.
Gong Yu’s Readable Cassettes are particularly ingenious; a shelf of boxed cassette tapes installed between quotation marks on the wall, with a pen to turn the film paper, upon which short stories and excerpts are printed from greats such as Milan Kundera. All that was lacking was an armchair. Emma Wieslander’s Life also piqued interest, a series of 5 tiny photographs of safari scenes, displayed through reflective prisms. Alex Ball, whose first solo show opened at the new University of the Arts gallery last month, amazes with his meticulous technique, here showing an oil painting Fold. Ball is like an Old Master with colour, but he knows how to take an archaic medium and rip it asunder with surprising and absurd subjects and a downscaling it to a point which must demand so much care and concentration you start to wonder if he is a masochist.
This exhibition is satisfying reminding viewers that contemporary art that adheres to traditional values does still exist - it’s art from another age, when artists were craftsmen who took time to produce their works and that effort to delight and amaze the viewer with their skill is warm and transcendental. It’s what art should be about.
-- Charlotte Jansen
All images courtesy the artists and Gallery Primo Alonso
images: Emma Wieslander, Lifee, 2010; Alex Ball, Fold, 2009.