Rupert Norfolk

Dicksmith Gallery

Rupert Norfolk’s I Beams, 2003, is pretty much just that: four short lengths of steel arrayed, rather than arranged, on the floor. But boy, are these I-beams beautiful; if Selfridge’s sold designer construction materials, they might look like this. The steel has been subtly spray painted in lovely lustrous steel hues full of depicted reflections and modulations—it’s entrancingly atmospheric. Two paradoxes coexist in this work, then: a play between sculpture as material presence on the one hand and painting as purveyor of illusion, of virtual space and light, on the other; and the play between two different kinds of value, namely the functional and the aesthetic—a differentiation itself aligned with social and economic distinctions between production and consumption, work and pleasure.

While I-Beams could be seen as both sculpture and painting, Pixelweave, 2004, somehow evades both

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