Making and Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture

Galleries 1, 2 and 3, Henry Moore Institute
30 September 2010 - 2 January 2011
06.07 2010
Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow

Angus Fairhurst

A magazine - Everything removed except 1cm border
Cut magazine, 44 x 25 x 1.5cm
Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ

Undone is concerned with sculpture that lies somewhere on the threshold between the made and unmade.  This fascinating exhibition brings together a large body of recent work by international contemporary artists and in doing so identifies a shared aesthetic that characterises the work of this otherwise disparate group of artists.  These 'homespun' sculptures, made from readily-available materials by artists from Europe, the US and Brazil seem to reflect a new age of austerity.

Focusing on objects and structures which are 'handmade', using traditional and more ad-hoc craft techniques, the works featured are often created using a simple, repetitive action, from crochet, plaiting, weaving and winding to stringing, shredding, binding and crumpling. Drawing on a wide range of materials, colours, scales and textures, the structures are as much bound together as they are poised to disintegrate. The selection includes work by Tonico Lemos Auad, Claire Barclay, Alexandra Bircken, Nayland Blake, Ruth Claxton, Krysten Cunningham, Michael Dean, Angus Fairhurst, Leo Fitzmaurice, Tom Friedman, Franziska Furter, Neil Gall, Jim Lambie, Tim Machin, Sally Osborn, Simon Periton, Mary Redmond, Eva Rothschild and Armando Andrade Tudela.

The works are spread across the Institute's Galleries 1, 2 and 3 and each one has been carefully chosen in relation to others around it to achieve broad groupings - such as clumps, sticks and strings - through juxtapositions; there are also delightful contrasts in scale, colour and material. All available display space will be utilised in the galleries, with works hanging from the walls, suspended from the ceiling and sitting directly on the floor as well as more conventionally on plinths.

At the centre of the first gallery is suspended Free Radical by Periton (1999), a dodecahedron with an ominous presence, slotted together from sections of black correx, above Furter's 'From the corner of your eye' (2008), which looks like brambles spread across the floor. Machin's barely-there Cloud (2010) appears to float above Gall's Unable to separate their own identities (2008), a rendering of tightly-bound ping-pong balls in cast and painted resin. Rothschild's Ashes (2009) resembles a slender root or up-turned sapling, a motif that continues in the pieces by Bircken and Dean, who utilise actual branches in their structures. Auad's Strings (2010), created from metal chains articulates a 3-D drawing in space whilst in Lambie's The Doors (Hunky Dory) (2002), coloured strings appear to be threaded through a reconfigured wooden door, crumpled and creased as if it were paper. Fairhurst's, Barclay's and Fitzmaurice's works are created from paper - cut or punched out magazines and ephemera; and Friedman's from a brown paper bag with hundreds of tiny arrows cut out across the whole surface, so that it appears at once frayed and filigree.

Whilst contemporary sculptors such as Damien Hirst and Mark Quinn experimented with the use of diamonds and gold at the height of economic boom, the 'make do and mend' approach illustrated by Undone seems more appropriate to newly constrained times.

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