“Strange Events Permit Themselves the Luxury of Occurring”

Camden Arts Centre

Doubtless, strange events do permit themselves the occasional luxury of occurring, as the title of the exhibition curated by artist and musician Steven Claydon at Camden Arts Centre reminds us. But combining assorted twentieth-century and contemporary artworks around vague ideas of replication and the thingly, Claydon’s show proved disappointingly short on strangeness. Its clean fit with a dominant range of readily identifiable, easily marketable contemporary art trends rendered it generic and predictable, in outline if not always in detail. For the fashion-conscious art student, it could function as a midnoughties style sourcebook.

Most obviously, there’s the heavily mined motif of the artist as collector-connoisseur, or maybe flâneur-ragpicker, scavenging in the ruins of last-century visual culture for things that might be reinvested with novelty. Two of Claydon’s own pieces recycled the

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