words Louis Staples
FLUX was invited along to FRAGMENTS OF, an exhibition that is fast becoming one of the must-see shows of Frieze week. Curated and devised by Marine Tanguy, and in collaboration with Molly Gibson photography, the exhibition showcases the work of six emerging artists.
Navigating the ever-changing artistic landscape, Tanguy aims to nurture the talent of new contemporary artists by bringing together a diverse mixture of art enthusiasts, critics, collectors and academics. FRAGMENTS OF personifies and celebrates this creative dialogue.
The exhibition is held at The Blue Factory in Dalston, a derelict building that has recently been transformed into one of East London’s most exciting creative spaces. Tucked away in a small alley off another lane, this vast Narnia of contemporary art must be seen to be believed. The immense venue is an artwork in itself, with different surfaces and colours creating contrasts of texture and form. Complete with drip marks and old radiators, the space is bursting with the run-down and shabby charm that is so typical of East London. Speaking of the venue, Tanguy explained: “I asked each artist not to be safe. I wanted them to push their voice further and experiment. They have all created their artworks on situ in the most amazing ways.”
The concept of Formationism underpins the exhibition. In this artistic theory, each artwork is a waypoint on the artist’s creative and conceptual journey. Formationism proposes that artworks are an impression of a wider artistic vision. “For years, I have always chosen the art I liked based on these elements.” Tanguy explains, “I hope this comes through in the curation of this show.”
A highlight of the show was Tristan Pigott, whose painstaking works mock the narcissism that is typically associated with portraiture. A Couple features unsettling colours and shadows that give an insight into a relationship that has gone sour. Roughness collides with smoothness to further develop this tense narrative. Spilled yoghurt pots and juice drinks add to the discomforting mood, while modern touches such as phones ensure that Piggot’s traditional style remains contemporary. Modernisation and technology are clearly of interest to Pigott. Accompanying his portrait was a miniature study of the iconic Nokia 3310 mobile phone. Paired with this painting was a sculpture comprised of the actual phone handset inside a glass box with live flies, raised on a white plinth. These works make a humorous statement about the value that we attach to both art and technology, observing how both are disposable in different societies. Speaking of his sculpture Pigott asks: “Who will die first? The phone’s battery or the flies?”
Scarlett Bowman’s journey into the world of fine art is unorthodox to say the least. Having studied classics at university, Bowman pursued acting for several years before finding herself at Chelsea College of Art, where she recently graduated with an MA in Fine Art. Still, judging by the works on display, choosing to become an artist is a decision that she certainly won’t regret. Bowman’s giant tapestries demand your attention as you enter the room. Hung from the ceiling, these tapestries challenge our perception of touch and materiality, whilst thrusting mundane everyday objects into the traditionally serious art gallery. Sitting beneath these tapestries are two floor-based sculptures. These works consist of contrasting materials that have been cast together, forcing the viewer to re-evaluate their expectations of surface and heaviness once more. Colliding against a backdrop of cold metal and beautifully weathered tiles, Bowman’s tapestries are the stand out works from the show. Speaking of the help that she has received from Tanguy, Bowman said: “It’s so rare to find someone as passionate as Marine about helping emerging artists.” Continuing, “She’s kind of like our mother hen.”
Elsewhere, artist duo Walter & Zoniel used the space to create the first incarnation of an enormous camera capable of shooting life-sized positive print artworks. Shot with a gigantic lens, each unique work will be intricately hand-coloured and gilded. With this work, the duo hope to start a conversation about our consumption of photography and the proliferation of the portrait in modern culture. The pair’s work was recently exhibited at the Tate and the Venice Biennale, and is a must see for anyone who is interested in the physics of photography.
Moving forward, Tanguy is already planning to curate more exhibitions in similarly unique and challenging venues. We eagerly anticipate her next move, and look forward to seeing new works from this diverse and exciting group of emerging artists.
FRAGMENTS OF is presented by Marine Tanguy Art. See the exhibition from 13/10/15 – 17/10/15 at Castle Gibson – The Blue Factory, Millers Avenue, Dalson, E8 2DS. For more information on the artists please visit www.marinetanguyart.com
words Louis Staples