In Plato's Meno, Socrates questions Meno as to the most accurate definition of a shape. By showing the possibility of there being more than one definition, Socrates shows that a definition cannot wholly and accurately describe something and that there is no one absolute definition for anything, including shape...
"The Shape of Things" is an art exhibition, curated by London based artist / curator, Silia Ka Tung, presenting a sample viewing of the works of 12 London based artists in a variety of media exploring emotional and physical shapes in art. The show aims to provide a glimpse to the current British contemporary art scene and to showcase both established and emerging contemporary practices.
Tess Jaray says that what she is trying to suggest in her work is ‘the sense of all experiences of life being part of a whole, perceptible only in flashes and fragments’. Tess translates these flashes and fragments into abstract geometrical shapes, subtly arranged and typically painted in soft colours. Often they form a kind of irregular grid evoking the decorative patterns of Islamic architecture. Like Tess, with the influence of Islamic architecture, Rana Begum’s folding sculptures sit between two and three-dimensional forms, communicating a sense of play which unfolds through multiple moments of alignment when viewers approach it in different directions and discover almost infinite compositions.
Nathaniel Rackowe’s objects take their cue from the urban landscapes. With a palette of industrial supplies, Rackowe concentrates on the purity of colour, material, form and volume. He draws particular attention to the viewer’s relationship with the object and with its environment, by illuminating the space around the structure, and using florescent light to define the perimeter of its containment. Changing the scenario from concrete forest to the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, Adam Ball’s hand cut pieces capture the timelessness and tranquility of this isolated world, while the florescent edges somehow express mystery and reverbrate the hidden order of nature.
Suki Chan's cutup books and Ludovica Gioscia’s colorful wooden cutouts, share the love of the labour intensive process of art making with Ball. Suki Chan’s mixed-media Bookshelf explores our physical and psychological experience of space. Abstracting familiar objects and materials, she creates uncanny narratives that are akin to a form of reverie or visual poetry. Gioscia’s world is full of playfulness and humor, visually sugar popping and filled with the debris of consumer culture. She thereby creates a critical yet sentimental anthropology of ancient-current Italian consumer cultural phenomenon.
Playfulness and humor can also be found in Silia Ka Tung’s toy-like soft sculptures. Her dynamic compositions reflect the influence of cartoons, billboards of her youth, as well as that of traditional Chinese folk art, with abstract shapes in vivid and saturated colours against flat backgrounds. Sharing Tung’s interests in cultural tradition and translating it into modern language, Kentaro Kobuke's work draws upon and subvert motifs of Japanese visual culture, exploiting the gap between the preconception and the representation of images to suggest disquieting narratives.
John Walter’s paintings are a mixed bowl of popular cultural imagery of iconic historical phenomena. Through filtering and synthesizing them into his very consistent aesthetic, he seeks to find common ground with viewers through a shared reference. Alejandro Ospina’s painting targets more specific ground of identity in communication, using found digital low-resolution snap shots while questioning the privacy where the social network becomes an inescapable proliferation of our everyday life.
Miho Sato and Gideon Rubin also use anonymous photographs as their source material, revealing the ephemeral nature of images and the instability of representation and meaning. Rubin uses abandoned old photographs with limited palette, where features or details are often effaced; the layered paintings become as much about form as they are about content, examining the act of painting, its legacy and its inadequacies. More reductive in color, Sato’s painting filters out all extraneous data, through a ruthless pictographic net while stripping out the obvious qualities upon which we rely to inform us. Sato’s paintings evoke both intimacy and distance, while speaking strangely of loss, longing and innocence.
"The Shape of Things" provides information, gives representational meaning, implies attitude, emotion and context through the art of site-specific installation, object, painting and digital work, while exploreing space, objecthood and perpetual emotions. Feelings are therefore symbolically objectified in certain forms, with an attention to detail and truth that language cannot always represent.
Featuring work by Adam Ball, Rana Begum, Suki Chan, Ludovica Gioscia, Tess Jaray, Kentaro Kobuke, Alejandro Ospina, Nathaniel Rackowe, Gideon Rubin, Miho Sato, Silia Ka Tung and John Walter.
Sponsored by: British Council & Israeli-British Chamber of Commerce