10.09.14 – 07.12.14
Fourth Drawer Down at The Small Collections Room, Nottingham Contemporary
Julia Muggenburg is pleased to announce the exhibition Fourth Drawer Down which was conceptualised for The Small Collections Room.
Muggenburg is interested in how art, self-adornment, objects of virtue or general use, historic and archaeological finds inform one another to give a kaleidoscopic view of life in what she terms as eccentric Britain.
The title of the show stems from the second album of the Scottish band The Associates, released in 1981.
Muggenburg explores the notion of constructed identity through her personal collection as well as the mechanism of the Wunderkammer as a contemporary idea and method of display. The collection reflects upon the intersection between art and anthropology, where historically the Wunderkammer was seen as a microcosm of the world beheld by a single person.
Showing diverse arrangements Muggenburg is high- lighting their use, symbolism, cultural and historical meanings. From the anthropomorphic Mayan painted terracotta Mother and Child Whistle or an English hand-turned Blue John Bell Pulley, to silver Mast Coins used on warships as a maritime tradition to act as motivation and reward for canonnier; the show intends to engage the viewer.
Ancient materials and shapes are an influence on the Belmacz jewels Muggenburg creates, often using special materials like Whitby jet or fossilized dinosaur bone.
Muggenburg’s keen interest in innovative artists of today drives her to seek art works that strike her as interesting and a catalyst for change.
The artists who have contributed works to Fourth Drawer Down are:
21.08.14 – 25.09.14
Simon Mullan: 'Alpha'
Belenius/Nordenhake, Jakobs Torg 3, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden
15.09.14 – 11.10.14
Julia Muggenburg is pleased to announce the exhibition ‘Protected Space’ which pairs the artists Jonathan Baldock and Coco Crampton and their site specific work, that stems from the conception of the hand held fan.
Fans are curious objects that have spanned millennia and have been used to give a sense of shelter, to fan air and fire and to conceal from the sun. A mechanical sculpture that became more ornate over time and was made from a multitude of materials as diverse as the cultures that used them.
Imagery was introduced depicting legends and stories, such as high and low scenes of Arcadia until finally it was used as a form of advertising novelty goods; perfume, air travel, restaurants etc, which were hand painted or printed on to them to carry the message.
Its structure was based and evolved from the shape of a leaf. What began in nature and evolved as a complex device ends up now as obsolete due to the demands of today. Looking at fans one easily connects to its multifaceted functions, however we must not forget that in Europe an actual language of the fan etiquette existed which allowed individuals to conduct secret communications and silent flirtations.
The artists have divided up the Belmacz space to create a sympathetic dialogue around this theme and its conditions. Both are concerned with the tensions and dilemmas that lie between form and function.
Jonathan Baldock’s multi facetted and multi disciplinary practice; sculptures, costumes and masks that are worn in performances are all a form of transformation, which is a reoccurring theme in his work. His costumes become a new skin to live in, a place of concealment and protection, the masks a place where you can “be yourself ”. His sculptures are like totemic devices that invite one to interfere or tamper with.
Baldock creates a visual language using ordinary materials that are more commonly used by a crafts person, bringing the materials and costumes to life by the performative side of his practice.
Coco Crampton is influenced by and borrows aspects of pre-existing design, for instance Ernest Race’s ‘Penguin Donkey Mark 2’ bookcase. Crampton said that she “wanted to hijack the form of Race's design but not the function”. Crampton removes the function of her objects whilst simultaneously giving the idea of utility and use, re-imagining dwelling spaces or places of social encounter. Rendering bold, simplified pieces that become subtle, emotional carriers of the artist’s imagination.
14.10.14 – 29.11.14
Chain on Chain
There is that often quoted line by Buckminster Fuller, typically cosmic in its outlook, which declares that ‘there are no straight lines in the universe’. Oscar Niemeyer wrote something similar about his ambivalence to the hard angle in his Poema da Curva. The difference between constructed form - that is those made industrially at the initiation of man - and organic form, lies at the heart of Camilla Løw’s modular, often playful, concrete and steel, glass and fabric sculptures.
Recently the Glasgow - educated, Oslo-based, artist has begun to make this interest explicit. Take the 2013 installation One Night Only, a series of cast concrete floor-based objects, each taking a different simple angular shape as its form - a trapezoid for example, a pentagon - all smooth in polished surface, bar a small hollow on the top. They are aesthetically pleasing, tactile, blocks in there own right: they ask one to consider the space that their heftiness is taking up. They are both blocks and blockages of space. Yet Løw glosses such meditations on the innate physicality of the sculptures with a further, social, humanistic, layer. Brightly, gaily, sprouting from the top of one concrete lump is a huddle of planted flowers. The delicate, organic variation of their petals, and messiness of their untameable stalks, grow at odds with the precision lines of the container. The flowers give the sculpture a pragmatic purpose: a suggestion of the municipal furniture of the city, of public space and human desire. The flowers elevate the work beyond minimalism and into everyday life.
It is with this understanding that we can evaluate much of Løw’s recent work. Take her solo exhibition in
2013 at Elastic Gallery, Malmø. As well a series in which similar concrete blocks are rested on wall-hung oak frames, inducing thoughts of the domestic design, the exhibition also included Fever, a floor-based metal sheet leant on the gallery wall. Yet the pleasing pristine spray-painted yellow surface has being disrupted by a series of gauged incisions. It’s a violent, perhaps passionate work, purposely at odds with the lineage of art history the unharmed sheet might have sought after. The artist will frequently use cord too - teasing the viewer with the imprecision of the material - strung up with different types of knots. In Joy (2009) for example, in which a platted multicoloured rope droops low in a loop from a white frame, the question of the artist’s control arises. The exact, immobile placement of the latter; placed with purpose, at odds with the seeming arbitrary hang of the latter. It’s this minimalist aesthetic and formalist materiality, combined with an interest in human interaction; that marks the artist out.
For her forthcoming exhibition at Belmacz, London, Løw will take this theme further, utilising this unique setting to experiment with lines of sight and the demarcation of space, to question how we interact with objects within a spatial environment. Hanging planes of colour - both opaque and transparent - will colonise the space, alternatively obstructing and revealing the interior architecture of the gallery. As the viewer manouvers around the sculptures, looks through them, looks around them, the work gives rise to the fundamental question of whether art lies within the intrinsic object, or within the viewer’s activation of the material.