Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London, SE1 0LN

  • Amarna Princesses with Technical Drawing
    Title : Amarna Princesses with Technical Drawing
  • Aura Satz Spiral Sound Coil
    Title : Aura Satz Spiral Sound Coil
  • Cubist Still Life with Popova (version 2)
    Title : Cubist Still Life with Popova (version 2)
  • Production still main Four Characters In Search of a Performance 2010 courtesy the artist and Ceri Hand Gallery
    Title : Production still main Four Characters In Search of a Performance 2010 courtesy the artist and Ceri Hand Gallery
  • jerwood locate paulwf 0004
    Title : jerwood locate paulwf 0004
  • jerwood locate paulwf 0153
    Title : jerwood locate paulwf 0153
  • jerwood locate paulwf 0213
    Title : jerwood locate paulwf 0213
  • museum collection salt print circa 1847
    Title : museum collection salt print circa 1847

Review by Eliza Apperly

This month the Jerwood Space is hosting Locate, curator Sarah Williams’ third show at the gallery. Part of the Jerwood Encounters programme designed to support and stimulate emerging talents with fresh and exploratory exhibition opportunities, it features the cross-disciplinary work of Mel Brimfield, Sarah Pickering and Aura Satz. The show’s thematic framework is ‘site’ with the artists’ installations all evolving ideas of setting and situation across diverse media and through an array of associations.

Brimfield’s ‘Four Characters in Search of a Performance’ is a scripted film installation in which four actors play contrasting characters who each give their own account of a (fictional) piece of performance art, exploring how we ‘locate’ the artistic experience. Pickering’s installation, set up like a museum space, draws upon the V&A’s ‘Fakes and Forgeries’ exhibition to develop an expansive enquiry into the site of artistic authenticity. With renowned forger Sean Greenhalgh (born 1961) as her primary point of reference, Pickering combines staged images of Greenhalgh’s counterfeits, scanned images taken by Greenhalgh himself and photographs and props from the ‘Fakes and Forgeries’ exhibition to repeatedly reposition notions of the original or genuine.

Barcelona-born Satz investigates how we situate sound. Championing the interactive, visitors are encouraged to place their heads beneath the suspended, fantastical sound trumpet of her ‘Spiral Sound Coil’ from which a multi-channel soundtrack outputs noises, voices, and musical excerpts. As aural orientation founders beneath these ethereal acoustics and as vision is obscured beneath the great brass horn of the sound trumpet, Satz challenges our primal capacity to locate through the senses.

A spirited variety, the diversity of Locate is appropriately matched by patterns and cognitive crossovers. Particularly interesting is Pickering and Brimfield’s joint inclination towards the meta-artistic in which ‘site’ is not only developed through their own intricate art but presented as elaborately bound to artistic practice in itself. Indebted to Luigi Pirandello’s paradigm of meta-fiction ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ (1921), the eyewitness appraisals of the Critic, the Gallerist, the Photographer and the Actress in Brimfield’s film composition not only call into question whether it is possible to pinpoint a transient encounter, but also muses over the ‘location’ of any artwork - subject as it is to the discrepancies of documentation, the idiosyncracies of interpretation, and the contortions and compromises inherent to linguistic description.

Pickering’s careful enquiry into Sean Greenhalgh, meanwhile, with its profound layering of fact and falsehood, constantly shifts any contradistinction between the ‘fake’ and the ‘real’. As art books and catalogues testify to Greenhalgh’s consummate conning of both the art market and institution, Pickering deftly dismantles any assumed ‘location’ of artistic value.

More than other concept-based shows sometimes muster, the combination of Brimfield, Pickering and Satz’s inter-disciplinary installations, alongside the individuality of each artist’s thematic trajectory in response to ‘site’, exemplifies sheer creative possibility - an exciting testimony to the ways minds may wander and hands may work between one original idea and a finished piece.

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