Things that are made and Things that Grow

As children we are given pre-fabricated, socialized microcosms of the adult world to play with – toys referencing the Factory, the School, the Workshop, the Army or the Motherhood. Through these objects we are conditioned to access the world presented to us from the position of the Owner and User, since children hardly ever receive malleable simple material or plain set of blocks to invent new dynamic forms.

The objects in this Online Exhibition have been transformed in the hands of their makers, young and emerging London-based artists who in their art practice construct autonomous worlds and self-sufficient entities. The ambiguous and interchangeable relations between the objects and performers is channeled to facilitate a discussion of the sculptural language and contemporary art production.

Christmas trees and decorations, robots and antiquities mediate our everyday lives since everything that cannot be invested in human relationship is invested into objects. Toys, ornaments, tools with their functional status is explored in formal experiments; in humorous displays interpreting the world with a subtle allure and providing an outlet for all kinds of tensions.

The artists in this exhibition approach functional objects and processes in the way that challenges our conditionings as users of objects; they invent narratives re-asserting a creative potential in the mundane experience. In this respect, the objects are treated as a metaphorical set of blocks; in assembling and dismantling their function, meaning and through displays of spectacle, it is possible to penetrate their interiority as something to be shaped and to grow in one’s imagination.

Hana Janečková

01 WE ARE THE ROBOTS

Sam Williams juxtaposes in his ‘video sculptures’ the idea that art-making is exact, precise and time-consuming process by his energetic and rushed performances. ‘We Are The Robots’ invites us to the conveyer belt/assembly point, where ‘work’ is carried out by robotic arms. The jerky, arm-like extensions seem to suffer from amnesia attempting to perform allocated tasks, while creating disruptive and increasingly funny situations. Sam Williams is in the final year of the MA in Sculpture in the Royal College of Art and he presently directs the Milwaukee Inova Show from London.

02 UNTITLED (GIRLS WITH TOOLS)

In Cindie Cheung’s video’s, clay-casted tools masquerade in hands of female performers, their displacement is highlighted by ambiguous representations of the female subject. The tactile surfaces of casted tools reflect soft surfaces of performer’s clothing while retracting all familiar, the sound Cheung composes re-enforces the atmosphere of theatrical spectacle where function/dysfunction is rendered as insignificant. Cheung is the winner of the Future Map 2009 and presently studies Sculpture in the MA in Royal College of Art.

03 MEDITATION MACHINE

In Katherine Tolladay’s video, ‘Meditation Machine’, a Christmas tree is intently dismantled in the scenario growing increasingly anxious and magical. Tolladay engages with the idea of play alluding to a fictional storytelling while imbuing objects with novel ways of interpretation and meaning. The objects exploited by the mass culture are restored to their magical and surreal properties. Katherine is currently completing her MA in Chelsea School of Art and Design.

04 Exhibition credits

Curator: Hana Janečková
Author of Texts: Hana Janečková
Realization: Lenka Střeláková and Janek Rous
Published: 15. 5. 2011