“Bloody Life”

Herald St
2 Herald Street
April 24, 2016–May 22, 2016

Herald St - Golden Square
37 Golden Square
April 24–May 21

View of “Bloody Life,” 2016.

Bloody life. A phrase we might utter, exasperated, navigating a world that can be both exciting and dispiriting. Curated by Herald St in collaboration with Gigiotto del Vecchio and Stefania Palumbo of the Berlin gallery Supportico Lopez and mounted throughout Herald St’s East and West End spaces, this group exhibition (whose title is borrowed from a body of work by Gilbert & George that is not presented here) brings together a wide range of artworks—some you’ll love, some not—but hey, that’s bloody life.

Athena Papadopoulos’s bold fabric works are somewhat corporeal—she gives us bulbous legs in platform shoes (Stumpin’ and Bumpin’ II, 2016) and a giant, swollen sea monster vomiting up a mass of chicken bones, heart shaped, into apricot-pigmented resin (Shrinking Violet, Buffet Bulldozer, 2015). The artist uses Pepto-Bismol and Crazy Color hair dye, which, when combined, create rich monochrome surfaces of red or purple. She also crudely stitches on image transfers—caricaturish pictures taken from drawings, photographs, or magazine clippings—which cause these sculptures to become whirlwinds of visual hyperactivity and handicraft. References to the body continue in Rebecca Ackroyd’s two giant hands modeled from plaster bandages and chicken wire that architecturally rise up to the ceiling (Nut Cracker, 2016), along with Franziska Lantz’s morbid series of mobile sculptures, where bones and metal dangle from wires (“THAMES, no title,” 2016).

An orgy of disparate materials, including chains, jewelry, metal wires, and rubber form a tightly packed, wall-mounted bundle in Robert Bittenbender’s Nocturnal Digest, 2015, while Lindsay Lawson’s objects meld pants, fake fur, chewing gum, and Styrofoam balls into vase-shaped plaster casts—like ceramics washed up in a shipwreck or buried time capsules containing detritus of this fabulous, fucked-up, gorgeous, and indeed bloody life.

Louisa Elderton