29th June to 18th August 2012
Cartel Gallery, Old Police Station, 114 Amersham Vale, London, SE14 6LG
Bik Van der Pol, David Blamey, Pavel Büchler, Rhona Byrne, Theo Cuff, Liam Gillick, Håkon Holm-Olsen, Mark Hutchinson, Gareth Long, Brighid Lowe, Ronan McCrea, Anouk Mercier, Ian Whittlesea
“As a constellation, theoretical thought circles the concept it would like to unseal, hoping that it will fly open like the lock of a well-guarded safe-deposit box: in response, not to a single key or a single number, but to a combination of numbers.”
Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics
Last Day. was a group exhibition of works gathered together in response to a found object: a text painting on canvas with the words ‘LAST DAY.’ inscribed in bold black letters obtained by the curator on the final day an art sale. The exhibition at Cartel attempted to invoke a strange (dis-) locatedness for the found work, re-sited and installed amongst other incommensurable signs.
The exhibition posited a multiplicity of possible ideas for the object as much as for the artworks that surrounded it. Individual artist’ worlds navigated their way around this found painting, corresponding to its value as a signifier, as surplus, and as evocative statement. Equally, each of the works incited a spectrum of readings of the temporal dimension of the text’s assertion: from optimistic declaration, to dystopian disclosure.
Last Day. was a constellation of conversations with this found statement, its potential meanings and multiple points of departure. Together, the works implied a narrative of connectivity as they oscillate with one another whilst circulating ‘around’ and 'about' the textual object, as much as they each try to escape completely from its hold.
Last Day. was homage to the narrational and symbolic force of the found object. It was formalised out of, and through, a series of invocations and performative actions. The exhibition as container of intersecting ideas brought about by the proximate relationship between things, their other worldliness and their (non-) representational forms.
Adapted from the press release.