Sunday, December 13, 2009

Space and James Taylor

I spent yesterday afternoon at the Space gallery at the Triangle, Mare Street, Hackney before going on to check out Dumb Waiter at James Taylor Gallery just off Well Street. 

First up Laura Oldfield Ford showed a couple of episodes of Boys From the Blackstuff. Although I know lots of classic moments from this series (written by Alan Bleasdale back in he early eighties) I don't think that I ever watched a complete episode - I found it too depressing. It was interesting watching it now - it was all a little clunky but very moving and the episode where Yosser built the dodgy wall and head butted the boss, surrounded by his three small kids was quite heartbreaking - 'gissa job'. The politics and aesthetics of the early eighties with the confrontational atmosphere of Thatcher's Britain is fundamental to Laura's practice, so it was really interesting to revisit it.

Next up was a Miss B's Salon event entitled Agitation, Polemic and Design... and their contemporary adaptations chaired by Ruth Beale to accompany her show  What I Believe ( a Polemic Collection) (pictured above). The show features Ruth's own collection of pamphlets, each one containing a polemic on an important issue of its time.  The speakers were Ruth, Laura Oldfield Ford and Modern Activity (the designers of Le Gun and a new series of DEMOS texts amongst other things). It was really good discussion, very wide ranging. I was interested in particular in the ideas around the way that artists such as Ruth (and Jeremy Deller) collect and present work about political ideas without offering an opinion as opposed to Laura's stance whereby she is fully immersed in her political ideas. There was also lots of stuff about politics and design including an insight into the importance of colour - apparently purple is very much favoured as it lies somewhere between red and blue and whether print was a nostalgic outdated medium for disseminating information.

I then managed to catch a bit of Tony Palmer's excellent short film Wigan Casino, scenes from which were used in Mark Leckey's Fiourucci Made Me Hardcore. I've been meaning to see this for weeks and it really didn't disappoint  (its on until 19th December if you are over in East London).

Then on to James Taylor Gallery to see Dumbwaiter. I heard a rumour that Saatchi had visited a couple of weeks back and I'm not surprised, the work looks as if it has come straight out of the Saatchi book of art. Spec-tac-u-lar. From the impressive installation featuring weird petrol pump / one armed bandit type machines, flashing lights, red curtains, projections and a prone figure by Lee Holden (pictured above) to the labour intensive pin board / wallpaper room of Margaret O'Brien and the huge inflatable landscape by Neil Bromwich and Zoe Walker.  


CAP said...

If the photo is anything to go on, the polemical event looked really galvanising.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha