Monday, 20 April 2009

Review: Sculpture Not Sculpture @ The Corridor, Hackney, London

In these times, the art world is as much at the mercy of the economy's tantrums as any other facet of civilisation. Young artists, with varying degrees of talent, find their paths to stardom blocked by armies in tracksuits descending scaffolds or with their bums in the air, drilling pipes, as only the construction and plumbing industries continue apparently to flourish.  

Which is what makes The Corridor, one of London's newest - and smallest - art galleries, so necessary. A renovated former commercial unit, its five young residents, three AA-graduate architects, a fashion designer and an artist, have turned their hallway and stairs into an art space, with the first floor appropriated as a salon, complete with co-ordinated hand-towels, in which emerging artists, writers and other creative minds can mingle and initiate collaborative relationships.  

Its most recent show, SCULPTURE NOT SCULPTURE, itself illustrates the bold current trend of building and regeneration in the face of recession. On entrance (via buzzer, viewings are by appointment only), one is greeted immediately by Alex Booker's 'Copper Fleet' installation, a score of boats seemingly rescued from the bottom of the Atlantic and polished like precious jewels, ready to conquer once more. Equally exquisite are Adam Nathaniel Furman's fragmented plaster structures, new objects of beauty created from the destruction of materials formerly deemed sacrosanct.  

Rhiannon Hunter's prints 'Along Walkways, Down Stairs' evoke dark, dying East End warehouse spaces; the spatially sensitive feel the ponderous presence of the wrecking ball, but instead turn to find Will Martyr's inflatable rhinos, which bridge the gap between painting and sculpture whilst mocking the bullish (rhinoish?) charge of the American Dream, the indiscriminate horns of which have precipitated the current crisis. Discarded materials from such events are gathered for use by Sarah Boris, whose 'Fake Art More Sex' adds welcome glamour.  

In Beverley Bennett's 'The Breakdown', once-convergent lines eventually split like the ends of fibre optics, each with its own new purpose; the work itself, in the shape of an arrow, points the way upstairs, where the artists themselves converge for mutual dialogue. At the top of the stairs, a TV plays Adam Nathaniel Furman's thirteen-minute second piece, 'Objectification: A Parable of Possession'. Narrated by the artist, a young man, inspired by Wilhelm von Gloeden's perfect set-pieces, contrives to destroy the entire ornamental stock of a fabled island, to produce bespoke objects such as the pair Furman has put on display. In this beautiful circuit, the role of art is to destroy the past, that which was once held dear, and capture its essence in a single, exquisite object, that introduces a fine new talent.  

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