This coming week looks like being a pleasantly hectic one, art-wise. On Monday I install some sculptures in the offices of Artfinder, on Tuesday I take down my first solo show, 'Found Memories', at the Nancy Victor Gallery and on Wednesday I install three sculptures in The Cass Bank Gallery, ready for the opening of the group show 'Misuse: Creating Alternatives'. The show is curated by 'MA Curating the Contemporary' at London Metropolitan University in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery. Apart from myself, the artists exhibiting in the show will be Alice Anderson, Blue Curry, Darren Harvey-Regan, Barry Sykes, Nick Gentry, Kyle Bean, Nancy Fouts, Guy Laramee, Elisabeth Lecourt & Kaarina Kaikkonen.
As you can see from the exhibition poster, one of the three pieces that I'll be showing is Orifice Tower which I completed last year. This sculpture started out as a deliberate rebuff to a sneaking trend that my box sculptures had developed for getting smaller and smaller. In this early sketch that I quickly scribble in the back of a 2011 diary (whilst waiting for the speakers at a Jerwood Space art talk to start, I seem to remember) you can see my blatant approach to how to turn small works into big works – as well as my abandonment of the wheeled motif that had become common throughout my box and tower structures.
When I was initially asked to exhibit in the show the piece that the curation team was most interested in me exhibiting was my sculpture, The City. Unfortunately after lending this piece to Charlie Levine and Minnie Weisz for their wonderful curatorial collaboration, 'Creative Machines, Minimalist Sculpture' (as part of Trove gallery's 'The Event 2011') it was returned to me having first been mysteriously smashed to pieces.
Reconstruction of The City is going to be a big undertaking, especially if I want to get the new version looking as close as possible to the original. So for now I've cobble together a temporary structure (basically an old wooden box with a few intricate shelves) to house some of the less damaged pieces from The City. Hopefully this will at least give a taster of the original work until I can find the time to remake it in full.
The third sculpture that I'm exhibiting will be my Nkisi-inspired piece, Nail Box. This is one of my favourite piece – partly because to construct it I spent four years collecting the rusty nails and screws from wherever I could find them (mostly picked up off the ground whilst out walking, both here in the UK and whilst traveling abroad) and because I feel that the work has quite a distinctive, if not cheeky, personality all of its own (probably just me anthropomorphizing again). Whilst working on Nail Box, rather than taking new nails and screws and rusting them artificially, I chose ones that had corroded naturally – through contact with the elements. I thought that this gave the metal an authentic patina and I hoped that the vast number of rusty nails and screws used in the piece would generate a kind of collective resonance. But maybe I'll let you be the judge of that.
Anyway – enough waffling. The opening night for the show is this Thursday (7th March - 6-9pm) at The Cass Bank Gallery, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF (directly opposite the Whitechapel Gallery) so I hope that you can join us. But if you can't make it to the private view then the exhibition will be on till the 22nd March.
Exhibition Continues: 8th - 22nd March
Open Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday 12pm - 5pm
Barry Sykes / Artist Talk / 'I Didn't Do it: Various Experiments with Found Objects'
Tuesday 12th March / 6.30pm / Room CEI 38 (first floor) / Central House, London Met Uni, E1 7PF /
The Cass Bank Gallery,
Central House, London Metropolitan University,
59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7PF
(opposite Whitechapel Gallery)
('Nail Box' photo courtesy of Rosie Mayell)