Tamesiology

Se8 Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Tamesiology by French artist Olivia Guigue. The work on show is the result of her residency at the gallery, an extended period that began at the inception of the pandemic, during which the artist undertook regular visits to the nearby foreshore of the Thames at Deptford in order to retrieve material ‘gifted’ by the river. Guigue treads lightly, barely disturbing the riverbed. She takes what is offered by its waters without digging beneath. In doing so, the project transposes the foreshore of the Thames into the gallery, albeit in a carefully redacted manner. In order to reveal this exceptionally diverse landscape, the artist devised a classification of matter in 6 degrees: indigenous, imported and modified natural matter, man-made materials from natural sources, synthetic polymers and conglomerates of all types. Perhaps the most extraordinary of these groups are the so-called Pseudo-Minerals, synthetic polymers that resemble natural formations; these are matched and displayed in pairs or small ensembles to outwit the viewers’ perception, triggering playful speculations as to their origins.

Guigue’s exhibition underscores the emergence of the Anthropocene, a new unit in geological time – the time of the human – through the evidence of identifiable synthetic signals in the strata record. Her work is partly archaeological – she works with the ruins of the past – but it also reveals ‘something of the deep future in the world we have made; as Philosopher David Farrier argues, ‘we are steeped in future fossils, testament of who we are and what we might become.’[1]

The resulting display using tables and vitrines echoes that of a museum of natural history, but by contrast, though the taxonomies are precise and exacting, they do not follow established scientific conventions; rather, the artist asks us to consider her findings in an aesthetic manner, perhaps to treat them as marvels that reveal a certain poetic thinking portraying the march of decay and extinction as a process of crystallization able to impart new truths to the world of the living.

 


[1] David Farrier, Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, Fourth Estate, London, 2020, p.16.

 

Alex Farrar: Faltering, light under two screw holes…

SE8 Gallery is proud to present the work of Amsterdam-based artist Alex Farrar, in his first solo exhibition in London. The exhibition will be titled after its installation is the result of summer-long residency at SE8 during which the artist produced a group of Sweat Paintings, ‘Umble Prints and Behavioural Residues.

Made by lead casting enlarged drawings of pared fingernails, Behavioural Residues are a series of sculptures that form a visual oxymoron. Their weight and scale counters the doubt and uncertainty associated with the action of biting nails. For the exhibition at SE8, a number of these have been returned to the Rijksakademie where they were first produced in 2015, their toxic surface covered in a metallic paint finish in bright, garish colours commonly used in nail polish.

The Sweat Paintings, begun in 2017, are made with a silicone-based mixture dripped, poured and brushed into organic forms that improvise on the ways in which sweat appears on clothing. By fixing this momentary spillage Farrar captures an expression of discomfort that reveals a tension between our public and private lives, as a form of alienation that produces an abject response.

Much of the content of the new works can be found in an embryonic state in the ’Umble Prints, where a scattershot collection of heads, contorted faces, fingernails, crab shells, and snakeskins amass on a backdrop of open textbooks. Printed in bright, bold colours with a risograph duplicator, their individual titles, ‘Jumble’, ‘Fumble’, ‘Stumble’ etc. belie the fragility of their making and the thread of vulnerability, and precarity that runs throughout the presentation.

Farrar’s exhibition is accompanied by a new publication entitled ‘Wimper’ by Mulberry Tree Press with texts by novelist and artist David Price, and by the curators Nicola Oxley and Nicolas de Oliveira. The book will be launched at the finissage on Saturday the 26th October from 3-6pm.

Farrar is concurrently showing at Bloc Projects, Sheffield and is represented by Dürst, Britt and Mayhew, Amsterdam.

The exhibition is supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands.

 

 

 

 

Henrique Pavão: Almodôvar Mirror Site

Curated by Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Henrique Pavão: Almodôvar Mirror Site published by Mulberry Tree Press with texts by Sérgio Fazenda Rodrigues, Nicolas de Oliveira/Nicola Oxley, and the artist.

The Portuguese artist Henrique Pavão’s Almodôvar Mirror Site (2016) shows a synchronized pair of slide projections of seemingly identical motorway service stations located on opposite sides of the route between Lisbon and the Algarve, each serving a different destination. The artist and a collaborator, facing in opposite directions, had examined the 11 petrol stations along the road while in mobile phone contact to ascertain the similarities between the pairs; they concluded that only a single pairing was in fact identical, offering itself as a ‘mirror-site’ chiming with American artist Robert Smithson’s Yucatan Mirror Displacements (1969) close to half a century earlier. In Pavão’s scrutiny of identical pairs of buildings the very thing that defines them, the road, is never actually shown. We rely on the gap between the images of the petrol stations to describe where the road ought to be.  The banal near identical images fit into an aesthetic of doubling especially associated with postmodernity in the 1970s and 1980s typified by artists such as Sherrie Levine or Marcel Broodthaers. Levine writes that her images were like ‘ghosts of ghosts’ and underscore ‘the space in the middle where there is no picture, rather an emptiness, an oblivion’. Pavão sets out to demonstrate the mechanics of time and place; to accomplish this feat analog technology is employed as an analogy – in which the input and the output largely correspond like the mechanical minute hand on a clock that performs an entire circle to describe the hour. And yet, the mechanical performance of these prosaic images that demonstrate similitude, displaces a quasi mystical quest for a lost domain that can never be attained – the complete mirror site, the Aleph, the place of all places – masking ’the unsatisfied desire for that which is always missing and found wanting in modern rationalist society: the miraculous’.

 

 

Double/Double

 

SE8 Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Double/Double by Portuguese artist Nuno Sousa Vieira. For his first solo exhibition in London the artist displays a number of distinct new works made specifically for the space, alongside existing works. Sousa Vieira is an important exponent of site-related art, as the main body of his work is the result of his long-term use of a vast former plastics factory in Leiria, Portugal. The factory operates as the artist’s studio, while opening out the discourse on the demise of manufacture, and providing a commentary on the problematic of mobility from studio, to site, and gallery.

The exhibition Double/Double refers to the long shadow cast by the factory on the exhibition space at SE8, and to the process of duplication that underpins the artist’s oeuvre. Here, all things manifest a relation to others, and their presence restates, repeats or reconfigures an apriori or an elsewhere. In All Colours will agree in the Dark, a series of torn up and recombined paintings the gap between the individual halves remains minimal but important. Similarly, the sculpture Double/Double features two pairs of identical structures, one made from solid wood, the other from particleboard. One set is displayed in the gallery space, while the other is shown in the external yard open to the elements. By the end of the exhibition their different material qualities and weather exposure will result in substantially altered works.

ShutterMyDarkBrownEyes, a macquette encased in a Perspex box, photographically replicates the interior aspect of the gallery. The frontal view presents a series of slim openings in the form of a door standing ajar, and a series of partially open shutters through which the interior of the space can be glimpsed, while lateral views into the box reveal a reconstructed space in which the spectator is faced with an impossible view: to be inside the space looking out, whilst simultaneously looking in.  As in all of Sousa Vieira’s work what is presented as a self-evident truth is eventually revealed as a paradox that questions our spatial and temporal perception.

Double/Double also coincides with the launch of a new publication on the artist’s work by Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley on Friday the 25th of May.

The exhibition is supported by Camões Instituto da Cooperação e da Lingua, Portugal, Ministério dos Negóçios Estrangeiros.

For further information please email us at info@se8gallery.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stale Air, in a Room, before Motion

While their long-standing creative partnership originates in the visual arts, artist duo Paul Good and Kirsty Wood are equally known for their musical output. Though these studio-based and sonic activities are pursued separately, they are here brought together to form a single entity, a sensorium, which stresses the input of different perceptual faculties.

The sculptural tableau depicts two peregrine falcons suspended in flight above a fractured landscape of blue resin shards punctuated with pools of indigo ink. Their conflict renders them oblivious to gravity, as if testing a sublime death drive. The sculpture is accompanied by a score of layered electric guitar chords that plays intermittently, adding dimension, scope and mass – extending the terrain outwards.

The iconography employed in the work for “Stale Air, in a Room, before Motion” recalls the emotional sublime present in works by Romantic and Symbolist paintings from the 19th Century, which continues to exert a powerful influence in the Contemporary; our digital present is supposedly dominated by connective technologies driven by evidence and reason, but it is equally marked by a resurgent interest in hidden practices such as metaphysics, mysticism and the occult, which promote the imperceptible and the unpresentable.

The artists will be in conversation with “Wavelengths” host William English and curator Nicolas de Oliveira on Resonance FM (104.4FM) between 2:30-3:30pm on Friday the 29th of September, and repeated on Monday the 2nd of October at 3:00pm.

The Private View on Friday the 29th of September also features a live sound performance by the artists, and coincides with the launch of the vinyl catalogue featuring the soundtrack from the exhibition and a text by the curators.

 

Future Nothingness

Portuguese artist João Biscainho’s exhibition at SE8 Gallery works on various levels, from historical and philosophical readings, to predictive scientific theories. He has produced a series of works that question our relationship with the world we occupy and its complexities, that explore our need to question the effects of future science and progress, as we move ever more closer to a world inundated by new technologies. By employing tactics of repetition and demonstration, his use of simple optical devices draws attention to the process of representation.

The main work featured in the exhibition entitled Uncanny River (The Crossing), 2014-2015, a video installation, portrays a voyage across a wide river from shore to shore. The projection shows a continuous image of churning water, made by the turbulent wake of a ship. The horizontal camera position is rotated by the artist so as to present the viewer with a vertical picture, which is then back-projected onto a sheet of black glass, with a mirror, set at a right angle, duplicating the swirling liquid.

The second work Through the liquid, which also moves, (your immortality is the end of democracy), 2013-2015, features a short video loop on a portable vintage television monitor chronicling the life phases of a ‘Medusoid’ or artificial jellyfish. The footage, edited from the internet, shows the creature’s development in a mold, its transfer from the receptacle to moving freely in water.

The third work entitled, The illusion of disillusion, 2013, is a swordfish bill  engraved with the nouns of the title; the words are set against each other, reflecting and opposing in turns. The sculpture plays with the relationship between materiality and language.

The exhibition coincides with the launch of a new limited edition book on the artist’s work, published by Mulberry Tree Press.