|This past summer London-based gallery Nettie Horn celebrated its third birthday with an exhibition named The Collective, which brought together a selection of new works by the gallery’s artists from the U.K., Scandinavia, Germany, and Canada. Annie Attridge creates delicately crafted figurative scenes and objects that are expressionistic and often overtly sexual. Her sculptures notably recall abstract figures and forms set in a mythological landscape, frozen in this seductive and lustrous material. The scenes depicted are classical in theme and recall 17th-century crafted miniatures and notions of the ready-made, mixing contemporary context and traditional materials.|
This past summer London-based gallery Nettie Horn celebrated its third birthday with an exhibition named The Collective, which brought together a selection of new works by the gallery’s artists from the U.K., Scandinavia, Germany, and Canada.
Annie Attridge creates delicately crafted figurative scenes and objects that are expressionistic and often overtly sexual. Her sculptures notably recall abstract figures and forms set in a mythological landscape, frozen in this seductive and lustrous material. The scenes depicted are classical in theme and recall 17th-century crafted miniatures and notions of the ready-made, mixing contemporary context and traditional materials. Since graduating from the Royal Academy Schools in 2002, Attridge’s practice has focused on abstracting the female form through the use of different materials, such as household materials, jesmonite, and more recently porcelain.
Gwenaël Bélanger’s works, focusing on the mediums of photography, video, and installation, are based on a critical observation of our daily reality and of the inherent simplicity in things. For Bélanger, the banal and the common hide some sort of innate nucleus of significance, which is simply awaiting to be uncovered—and thus offers us, with a touch of irony, a re-evaluation of what is presented to us at first glance. The photograph Le Faux Mouvement results from the video, Le Tournis, and represents a panoramic view of an interior from a central viewpoint, and in which a large number of mirrors simultaneously crash to the floor.
Antti Laitinen’s work stems from performances which are documented through photographs, videos, or objects. Using explicit and oneiric cultural imagery set in a context of nature and culture, Laitinen’s performances become the staged enactment of his vision of Finnish identity. Combining a search for identity and poetry of the absurd, the artist pushes his limits (both physical and mental) in quest of the discovery of the wild Nordic landscape, often devoid of any human trace. The video Voyage is the second chapter of the Island Trilogy consisting of three bodies of work: It’s My Island, where he constructed an island from sandbags, the second Voyage a floating paradise, and the third Growler, a summer iceberg. In this second chapter, Laitinen constructed and rowed a “paradise” island through a series of seascapes in the Baltic Sea, in Greece, and on the Thames in London, thus creating his own appropriated “land” enabling him to travel.
Debbie Lawson creates atypical environments through the use of found objects, household furniture, and domestic materials such as “Persian” carpet and wood. A new hybrid meaning is found in the use of these kitsch materials in her sculptures and installations away from their inherent decorative quality. Tinged by a collective and personal nostalgia linked to memories of the domestic interior and suburban life, these humdrum objects become part of a “mise en scène” which is created thanks to the narrative formed by our own history and memories. The encounter between the material and the object reveals a dramatic other life according to what the artist saw as its own particular aspirational quality.
Developed through filmic montage, Oliver Pietsch’s videos are marked by a solid archival testimony to cinematic and audiovisual culture. From old films to more recent ones, from documentary to independent cinema through to Hollywood blockbusters, the artist plays around with fictional re-interpretations, intrinsically creating a new narrative. The themes of these montages often take on an obscure exploration of human emotions and psychological torments. The Shape of Things (2008) is a thematic montage exploring the nature of dreams in cinema. Pietsch presents the cinematic dream sequence in all its guises, from nightmare and psychological torment to erotic fantasy, Nosferatu to Aliens. Elegiac and entertaining, it touches on Freud and nuclear war as part of the visual landscape that shaped contemporary consciousness.
Being simultaneously autobiographical and fictional, Marko Mäetamm’s works embody, with humor and auto-derision, authentic odes to life alongside acidic complaints on the complex familial and sentimental relationships between oneself and others. Flirting inexorably with his own reality, Mäetamm enjoys the act of confessing; his status as an artist being predominantly at the origin of a series of fictional “mises-en-scènes” during which conflicts and familial dramas escalate, sometimes towards irreversible acts. Throughout Mäetamm’s world of disconcerting sincerity, the spectator becomes a privileged viewer to the intimate worries and emotional tragedies experienced by the artist and at the same time identifies with the issues addressed within the works.
Yudi Noor’s practice features installations, sculptures and collages. Through the use of diverse material and objects, the artist creates “arrangements” of a minimalist form of language that uncannily recalls a sort of symbolism. Noor’s work can be seen as a reaction to the themes and tendencies of our society, as he reflects on questions of spirituality, belief, ritual ceremonies, and their contexts within different cultures and modes of living. Born in Indonesia, Noor creates installations and assemblage of selected objects that present a dichotomy between folk tradition and industrial production.
Kim Rugg is renowned for her meticulous and labor-intensive work, which involves deconstructing objects to re-organize and reconstruct them according to arbitrary codes. Amongst a range of everyday objects, the newspaper has become in Rugg’s practice the privileged medium for her acts of experimentation, dissecting the vehicle and content of the information. Following on from her subversive practice of “pixelization,” which is obsessively applied to various English and American newspapers, Rugg presents here a new body of newspaper-based work consisting of hand-drawn “trompe l’oeil” reproductions of front pages. The artist painstakingly transcribes each story and picture as seen from a reader’s perspective.
Bjorn Venø explores contemporary issues of male identity and the struggles surrounding what it means to be a man in today’s society. His photographs, whose composition and planning is as exquisite as it is rigorous, seem to sit halfway between the still frame of an unidentified documentary film and the complex narratives of painting. For this new work, Venø slips into the cinematic moving “still” image and again puts himself in the picture as the main character. His scenes are based on personal facts and specific memories from his past. Venø here presents a video and “automated performance” in which the artist continues to narrate his familial history—here he takes us back to the port where his father returned from years in the marine, impersonating the figure of his father as a young sailor and re-enacting this touching and symbolic moment.
Playing essentially with the architectural qualities of her surroundings, Sinta Werner creates optical illusions through the construction of illusionistic stages or scenes. Dissolving conventional ways of seeing and representing, she deconstructs and fragments the space and aims to create illusions of flatness in an almost painterly manner, devising similarities without wanting to simulate perfection. These different scenarios are achieved by various techniques such as collage, pictorial arrangements in space, and scenographic installations involving geometrical structures as well as architectural elements. Her latest series of collages offers visions of dehumanized landscapes where her cuttings invoke mirages and visual hallucinations.