7 - 21 March 2010
Participating artists: Daniel Pasteiner, Wilfredo Prieto, Phill Wilson-Perkin, Tomaž Kramberger, Warren McLachlan, Beatriz Olabarrieta, Kuyu Aka, Cedric Christie, Leigh Clarke, Stephen Hall
New contemporary art project space Cul De Sac presents an exhibition of sculpture and installation work featuring ten international artists including the Cuban artist & Cartier Award winner 2008 Wilfredo Prieto.
The exhibition title can be read in several ways – standing up against gravity is a general condition of sculpture with its plinths and armatures; it is the live event of stand up comedy; standing up for yourself is to resist the forces which threaten coercion or control; and to be stood up is to be let down, jilted or disappointed. These themes, especially of humour and resistance, expectation and disappointment, address the condition of art making and interpretation today.
The quiet subversive quality of this humour is exemplified in Prietos' 'Grease, Soap, Banana' from 2007 which consists of an empty banana skin perched on a bar of soap resting in a pool of thick axle-grease - improvisatory & delicate, suggestive of slapstick and pratfalls. Many of the works in the exhibition take simple existing materials and transform them into lyrical or visionary structures: Daniel Pasteiners' 'Lagoon' using the artists trademark scalextrick tracks looped around blackened 12 inch records suspended in pools of wrinkled white gloss achieves an iconic clarity.
In Warren McLachlans 'Mint' a weed-smokers vaporiser gradually fills an enormous transparent polythene balloon crowned by two owlish ears. Beatriz Olabarrietas' clownish 'Bikini Structure for a French Grammar' whose delicate wooden combs, slots and hoops interact with the architecture of the space in ways at once precarious, domestic and flamboyant. Phil Wilson-Perkins' oneiric constructions seem casual and provisional like the detritus of a cultic performance and employ rustic technologies to confront us with scenes at once obvious and ineffable - a quality shared with many of the works in the show, Tomaž Krambergers' 'Vice' is a sheet of mirrored glass between two workbench vices, which reflects on dysfunctional utility, fragility, force and representation.
Leigh Clarkes 'Untitled (Yemen)' suggests darker themes, in it an abandoned suitcase is thrown open to reveal a backlit and crumpled map which seems to hover in the air through the field of a fresnel lens, hinting at clandestine operations in foreign lands and the double edged allure and danger of global mass transit. In Cedric Christies' 'Phoenix' pool balls are threaded like prayer beads or atoms in a inverted necklace draped aJong the floor, and in 'Looking at long lost friends' he uses the industrial vocabulary of scaffolding to achieve a minimalistic elegance and lightness. Kuyu Aka presents a worms eye view of two feet suspended in the wall, referring more directly to the exhibitions title and suggesting the comedians fear of 'dying' on stage by telling unfunny jokes.
The exhibition organiser and artist Stephen Hall "This show presents works which are entirely new or which hadn't been seen here in London before. I wanted to show recent works which use humour to engage directly with existential questions of existence and resistance, which use the immediacy of comedy to reach both a contemporary art and a general audience. It's great to be able to present a number of large scale works in central London for the first show in this new space."