Pavilion: James Clarkson With Rachel Adams, Laura Aldridge, James McLardy, Ciara Phillips, Kevin Pollock
20/10/12 - 4/11/12 Friday - Sunday : 12:00 - 17:00
David Dale Gallery & Studios are pleased to present Pavilion, an exhibition of new work by James Clarkson featuring contributions by Rachel Adams, Laura Aldridge, James McLardy, Ciara Phillips and Kevin Pollock. Acknowledging the influence that mass-produced design’s interpretation of High Modernism extends, Clarkson reinterprets the values dictated by Modernism - though, generally, experienced through the distorting lens of these copies. The simulacrum of objects and ideas as the most successful manifestation of them.
For Pavilion, Clarkson has designed a domestic setting which attempts to address Modernism’s conflicted marriage of Art and life, and the experience of this through reproductions and second-hand accounts. The pavilion has been created to be a stark minimal living space, elegant through its functionality, with both practical and theoretical elements pared down to gestures. Artists Rachel Adams, Laura Aldridge, James McLardy, Ciara Phillips and Kevin Pollock have been invited to contribute work to the pavilion in order to complete it, and make it habitable. Working within the domestic parameters of the space, the artists have separately contributed work that dually furnishes the space and highlights the problematic relationships inherent within High Art, mass produced design, craft and contemporary practise.
The main structure of the pavilion is a large platform (A square centimetre of blue is less blue than a square meter of the same blue), slightly elevated from the floor, taking up the majority of the gallery space. The platform is reminiscent of Yves Klein’s Pigment Pur (1957), though readily undermines this comparison through its still visible wood grain. Used to both annexe the space, and act as a plinth for display, the platform references not only the work itself - but also its use as a curatorial device, consistently re-devised and re- configured without regard to provenance. Pigment Pur has been exhibited in the Guggenheim Museum, Hirshhorn Museum, Walker Art Centre and MAMAC, Nice, among others since its original display at Collette Alendy Gallery in 1957, with the installation differing every time.
Scattered on top of this platform is Clarkson’s work, Three Absorbing Sculptures, which are a direct reference to Klein’s sponge reliefs, designed to envelop and surround the viewer as they sit, fulfilling the ambition that Klein had to absorb the viewer within a monochrome. In Clarkson’s other work Sartorial Antrhopometries 1 & 2, there is a clear relationship with Klein’s anthropometrie series. Made from dresses bought from H&M, the works form a study of the female figure through an abstracted linear space. The use of fabric in these works chart the development of high art being subsumed into mass culture and production, while illustrating the domesticity of the space.
Further demarcating the space is Kevin Pollok’s screen or divider, uneasily straddling both the floor and the platform, it speaks of functionality while shirking its potential usefulness.Developed from an interest in the Silberdistel vase, and its relationship to Yves Klein’s Sponge relief mural for the Gelsenkirchen Opera house 1958/59, Clarkson has expanded this interaction of homage and plagiarism to become metonymic of the intertwined histories of Modernist art and design.
The formal use of colour is set against Rachel Adam’s tie-dye geometric sculptures, adorned with repurposed chrome house ware that seems to deny any previous purpose. The conflicting materials changing effortlessly between found object and labour intensive craft. James McLardy’s sculptures, set in domestic scale, further separate the division between artisanal labour and mass production. His work, set within Industrial Romanticism, crosses between monolith and a pre-historic club cast in bronze. Primarily using wax, they appear as polished steel or acrylic - taking no less effort in their deception than their presentation. Ciara Phillips and Laura Aldridge, in showing wall based work set the outer limits of the pavilion.
Aldridge introduces the sole human inhabitant of the pavilion, referencing Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1975 self-portrait, its outline also comparable to Klein’s anthropometrie series with a similar confusion of subject, object and medium, which invokes a re-evaluation of this form. It also has a fortuitous relation to Klein’s monochromes produced between 1960 - 1961, with the dimensions of the painting conforming to ‘barely higher than the average viewers and a width less than arm span’. Phillips’ large textile works outline the space. Set against each other, and underlining the inversion of the mass produced versus the original one off, the work pieces together fragments of what could either be a diaspora of machined fabrics - or a tumultuous relationship with one’s own production and output.