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The Hoxton Art Gallery
In the lead up to The Hoxton Art Gallery’s new exhibition “Wunderkammer” launching on 9 March 2012, our new reviewer Katrine Carstens rewinds for a moment to last summer and the opening exhibition “Symbiosis”:
May 2011: As soon as I turned the corner into Charlotte Road I was swallowed up by a sea of lingering people sipping cocktails and smoking rolls ups. There was no doubt in my mind that I was in the right place for the opening of The Hoxton Art Gallery.
Getting inside the actual gallery was a case of spatial combat, requiring artful crowd dodging to avoid damaging exhibits or innocent bystanders. The focal point of the throng was the extremely busy bar with the demand for drinks so intense that issuing sweatbands to the bar staff would have been entirely appropriate!
Seeing the actual art was a challenge due to the sheer volume of people, but I slowly edged my way around to have a gander. The conceptual idea and title of this inaugural exhibition was ‘Symbiosis’, exploring the relationship between the environment and humanity.
The creations of Noemi Goudal, a French artist, were striking and strangely haunting. My favourite piece was called “Jetee” – a massive photographic print of a derelict room with a collage of photographs hung on its back wall, coalescing into a picture of a jetty in a jigsaw like fashion. This created the feel of the space being opened up into another world, bringing the water and jetty inside the room and vice versa. That the piece was displayed on the end wall of the gallery itself too worked to intensify this effect.
Moving on, I nearly committed the ultimate faux pas of resting my drink on, what I thought, was a rather fine looking Perspex shelf. It was indeed Perspex, but not at all a shelf. Validating the importance of perspective, visible only from straight on, was a video loop of a London skyline at sunset, projected from a screen installed at the back of the wall. I liked the subtlety and unexpectedness of it. Kantaro Yamada, the artist, said that his aim was to subvert and challenge our understanding of the concepts of inside and outside thinking. Fair do’s. He definitely managed to nearly topple my understanding of art and shelf.
Matthew Nickerson, the gallery owner was young, well groomed and armed with an endearing air of apprehension. This gallery is clearly his baby and he hopes it can cover a broad spectrum of media, embracing the aesthetic, conceptual and political. If they can keep up this stimulating manifesto, they should be able to keep the attention of an inquiring audience wrapped firmly around them.
“Wunderkammer” opens on 9 March 2012 – read our review of it late next week!
Hoxton Art Gallery, 64 Charlotte Road, Hoxton, London EC2A 3PE, Tel: 0207 739 6852, www.hoxtonartgallery.co.uk.
Opening hours: Tue – Fri: 11-18.00, Sat; 11-16.00, Sun-Mon: Closed.