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Wednesday 17 August 2011

Construction | Destruction | Nostalgia | Memory of a Hope | Ceri Hand Gallery | Liverpool

Text by Kenn Taylor

Devised with gallery artist Matthew Houlding, this exhibition at Ceri Hand Gallery draws on a key text by Henri Lefebvre and the autobiographical writing of JG Ballard, reflecting spaces caught between construction, destruction and nostalgia. Each gallery artist was invited to select two artists in response to Houlding’s concept. The resulting exhibition includes 36 artists and over 100 art works, including film, photography, painting, sculpture, text and audio work – much of it seen for the first time in the UK.

The resulting group show, Memory of a Hope, is crammed and complex, meaning the level of dialogue allowed between pieces varies. The highlight of the show, Geraint Evans’ Homebase (2011), selected by Mel Brimfield, is a vivid portrayal of a log cabin display in the corner of a DIY store. Commenting on the concept of the ‘take-home’ aesthetic, Evans’ depiction of a collapsed corner of the cabin’s flimsy picket fence and the shop’s grim utility, lays bare the facile nature of this idealised way of living.

Curious in its technique and vision is Kim Rugg’s This is War Kid (2008) a comic book carefully cut up and re-assembled as a fractured, multi-textured work that is almost sculpture. Also of note is Mary Griffiths’ Where Few Dwelled (2010/2011) series, a collection of detailed graphite on paper works, formed from interlinked patterns and shapes, which moodily recall the infinite world of space and physics. A highlight is Riccardo Baruzzi’s B_2134567 (2011). Apparently a screen grab from the head-up display of a military aircraft after its weapons have hit their target, the materials are shaped into a stark 3D topography that could be a representation of the landscape that is being devastated. Its content, form and colour are all riveting.

Oddly compelling is Tessa Power’s A Happy Death (2011) a 16mm celluloid film work across three separate CRT monitors of a horse, on each monitor red, blue and green respectively, collapsing, dying and then getting back up. Another work fascinating in its detail and technique is Elizabeth Rowe’s Rock Walks and Nail House (both 2011) made from newspaper sheets obliterated and enhanced by colour and patternation, a complex and intense re-appropriation of a mass media product.

Memory of a Hope is an interesting curatorial experiment which has created a varied and interesting show that has managed, just, not to be overwhelming, in this compact space.

Memory of a Hope continues at Ceri Hand until 3 September.


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Courtesy Ceri Hand Gallery
Photography by Helen Palmer

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