16th January 2009 — 22nd February 2009
Mounted on a curving shelf, pinned to the wall with hand-made screws is a foot-high figure, bright green, wearing only a hat, his hand covers his absurdly long erection. Gazing out onto the street, his expression is gleeful, cheeky; he maintains an innocent sauciness; the most un-menacing and cheery of phallic totems. Francis Upritchard’s ‘The Gentleman’, 2008, hovers over the entrance to Kate MacGarry, a knowing gate keeper for the current exhibition at the gallery.
‘Feierabend’ is a highly stylised collaborative installation between Karl Fritsch, Martino Gamper and Francis Upritchard. Working respectively in furniture design, jewellery and sculpture, the three artists share a similar aesthetic that allows their combined work to blend together into a single, joyful installation. The exhibition weaves together the work of the three artists so that works hold one another up, balance, illuminate, scratch, mould, and paint over one another. While it can be difficult to decipher where one individuals mark ends and another’s begins, it is in the dialogue that is set up between the three artists work whereby the works are seamlessly bound to one another and able to ameliorate one another through composition that the three individual projects become more than a sum of their parts.
Upritchard’s most familiar contribution is a series of small figures, each has a different coloured skin – blue, red, green or multi-coloured, swaddled in Bedoiun-esque robes they stand, kneel or sit in prayer positions atop of a series of tables and shelves provided by Gamper, their serene doll-like faces carry with them a sense of self-aware amusement or otherworldliness. Gamper has also produced a number of chairs; made from salvaged and found old furniture, with titles ‘Bent around with Love Handles’ Gamper gives Modernist classics an anthropomorphised sense of humour. Fritsch’s oxidised silver screws and gold and silver jewellery are subtly displayed and placed throughout the room – twinkling out from under glass shields, lights shine absurdly low upon them, or they ceremoniously hold up shelves. Upritchard, whose hand has the greatest presence in the show, has also embellished Gamper's modernist furniture with plasticine handles, making them child-friendly- highlighting and softening the hard edges. On the legs of Gamper’s tables and shelves, Upritchard has drawn in crayon, another playful, child-like gesture, colouring in the cracks in Creole, the waxy colours complimenting those of her figures.
‘Feierabend’ translates as ‘the start of the night’, or ‘the end of work’ and as such, the installation evokes an abandoned workshop in some parallel world; left by workers, tables, chairs, lightshades come to life; their faces shine out as they shine light on one another. This is an exhibition which demands you look at it from a series of different angles in turn – the artists together, the artists apart, the interaction between those two axis, the navigation of space. The emphasis is on the manifestation of objects; their sheer physicality. The playfulness of the exhibition gives an idea that it was great fun to put together, to install; full as it is of knowing nods, winks and playful interactions. The work is breezy and fantastical; with little reliance on a coherent narrative, instead it is left up to the viewer to create a story, so that the objects become a manifestation of ideas which may or may not exist elsewhere.
Kate MacGarry Gallery
7a Vyner Street
London E2 9DG