aPpraise: "Grayson Perry & Sarah Sze" - Victoria Miro Gallery

I have recently been drawn towards the smaller galleries rather than the monolithic structures such as the Tate which can often feel overwhelming and exhausting such that the cafe can often the most appealing part!

This time it was the turn of the clean white cube space of the  Victoria Miro gallery which is housing delectable art morsels by two artists Sarah Sze and Grayson Perry.  Possibly a strategic move by the gallery but the visitor had to walk through the work of Sze to get to Perry's work up on the 1st floor. To be fair I didn't need the strategic placing of Sze's work to lure me to her work which was simply hallucinatory as with each look, you noticed something different and you feel your vision periphery is really not wide enough. Work that needs time to absorb and infiltrate your senses.

Sze is a New York based artist making intricate sculptural installations which have an ephemeral feel to it. They consist of found objects including matchsticks, paper, clay, but as well as the placing of these taxonomic-like formations, there is also a crafted feel to the work where the found objects are crafted together to make other larger fragments. Fragments, the huge to the small are the consistent elements to the sprawling installations which seem to have a constellation-style arrangment to them as well as each inital framework or setting for individual works which seem a nod to the familiar, like the Model for a Print piece (below) is based around a desk, possibly her own desk space and the Pendulum piece seemingly referring to her studio space - including some casts of rats!

Each of the works often has a suprising element, for instance the work below could've just stopped at the flat base of the white paper but instead the curling of the paper edge to reveal a print gives the work that extra je ne sais quois or in my case an extra heart beat!

'Model for a Print' 2012

Closeup of  'Model for a Weather Vane'  2012

'Model for a Diviner' 2012

The jewel in the crown was certainly the theatrical piece upstairs taking over the whole room. Personally, I was in there for a good 30 minutes as I really didnt know where to start. I was anxiously clicking away with my camera desperately trying to capture the content and the overall feeling of the work so that I could recall it at a later stage but knowing that this was futile. As the title of the work 'Pendulum' suggests, the work consists of a pendulum hung from the ceiling swinging back and forth over the installation.  Varied forms of found objects arranged meticulously and thoughtfully (a small sample including a hand cream bottle; a bin; pringle packets; polysterene outs) all in almost a cosmological, galaxy structure. The ordered amongst the random, the interdependency, the links but also within an overriding controlling force. I was constantly thinking, but how and why would you put that object with that object. I am always fascinated with the journey of thinking behind work as well as the aesthetic experience.


'Pendulum' 2012'

Overall a superb show and resonated with my own work where fragments plays a big part particularly as part the bigger picture or in my case the pieces of the cake! Though with my own work, the making of the fragments is pretty important so the 'readymade' components are in the back seat...for now...

So onto Mr Perry, who in fact I admire very much as a person having heard him speak on varied documentaries and shows - very articulate; tells it how it is and generally just makes sense. This show was timed along with the TV series  In the Best Possible Taste shown on Channel 4 in 3 parts documenting class and taste and transforming these ideas into artworks (6 tapestries), now on display at the Victoria Miro Gallery. I thoroughly enjoyed the TV series especially seeing the research, drawings and ideas going into the tapestries which are a modern take on the Rake's Progress by William Hogarth, (which showed the rise and fall of a working class man to greatness).

Seeing the tapestries in all the flesh and glory was a marvel with the array of colours and seeing the threads of the tapestries up close (and possibly fairly personal when you look at your taste and reflection of class!). One thing that is a shame is that the tapestries had to be made using a machine due to high costs of making it by hand. Grayson mentions in the programme that he would rather it were made by machine so it got realised which it might not have if he insisted on it being hand made.

'Vanity of Small Differences' 2012

But the combination of using a traditional technique with a modern cartoon style together with the composition of each scene encompassing his ethnographic research and subtle references to classical paintings truly make these works evocative of our times whilst giving the viewer refreshing visual fodder.

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