2nd June 2007 — 21st July 2007
in the deepest depths of the East End in a warehouse on Ridley Road,
the Max Wigram Gallery temporary exhibition space is a stark comparison
to the clean, pristine space just off Bond Street. The entrance to the
building is unassuming, with a blue door at the foot of the stairs
leading to the top floor where the exhibition is. Visiting on a weekday
when the space isn't usually open I knew I was in for a treat, as when
trying to figure out my way in one of the market stall owners offered
to give me a lift through the window. Last Attraction Next Exit is
curated by Neville Wakefield, the newly appointed curator of Frieze Art
Fair; in Ridley Road he brings together artists from far and wide to
create a feeling of being pulled in opposing directions simultaneously.
A skeletal billboard made from metal welcomes me upon entrance to the space, its advertisement is an elliptical diamond painted in black gloss paint which drips down onto the floor like tar on a hot road; sticky and molten. The work is a collaboration between Banks Violette and Gardar Eide Einarsson, and it is so new that it is yet to be titled.
Going around the back of the billboard my eye is caught by the words, 'I am a thief, I stole from Walmart', this is part of Nate Lowman's installation, True Stories (2007). Directly beside this I read the words in Shannon Ebner's photographs, 'Yes tomorrow, no tomorrow'. I spin around to read the light box by Einarsson, which is placed on the floor, Not guilty by association (2007) and glance at his bomb checklist, which is printed on the wall. I am being bombarded with slogans and information, a mixture of consumerism and globalization swarms around me.
The windows in the warehouse are thin and I can hear the hustle and bustle from the market outside; the indistinguishable yells of the market sellers and the faint beat of music. There is a similar beat inside the space coming from Techno Battle (2006) a video work made by Hanna and Klara Liden, two masked figures duel with computer equipment; a laptop is flung at someone's head, then a mouse is thrown back; the backdrop is a steep ravine with melted snow and the battle field is a car park. I find myself smiling and I am reminded of the recent Mac and PC advert; except this is a very sinister version.
There is also humour in the work of Adam McEwan, which in his series Obituaries (2004) he kills off well known celebrities. Large framed pseudo-newspaper articles memorialise the lives of Jeff Koons, Macaulay Culkin, Bill Clinton, Rod Steward and others. Directly opposite is McEwan's painting titled Nuremberg (2007), which from a distance looks like a black canvas with dots on it, but on closer inspection these dots are chewing gum, which have been scraped off the floor and stuck to the surface. There is another large canvas, which from out of the corner of my eye could have been a Jackson Pollock; Untitled (2007) is a work by Dan Colen; the thickly encrusted surface is a mixture of oil and enamel and is painted to look like bird shit.
Last Attraction Next Exit, is a great show and I have only just touched the surface. It is an exhibition packed with work, where you are forced to constantly redefine your surroundings; it feels exciting, hectic and make you nervous all at the same time. Once enticed to take the next exit, be prepared to be lead miles off the highway in order to reach a destination; passing obscure things and moments that you will not be able to experience again, except for that fleeting moment while you are speeding along the road.
Max Wigram - Ridley Road
51-63 Ridley Road
London E8 2NP