The exhibition, curated by artists James Edgar and Sam Walker, features new work from several London based artists and comprises moving-image, installation, painting and sculpture.
Each artist presents a manifestation of ‘things’ – objects, structures, images, materials, processes – assembled here within a framework of phenomenological inquiry. The artists use a range of techniques to consider every day encounters with the material world, and explore the ways in which they construct our collective sense of identity, place and value.
Imran Perretta’s installations are constructed from socio-culturally inscribed objects and materials such as skin-whitening cream, prayer mats and posters advertising cheap international phone calls. May Hands produces paintings and sculptures on a varying scale, repurposing throwaway couture brand packaging and pound-shop commodities. Henna Vainio’s sculptures and reliefs incorporate fragments and casts of everyday objects in their interpretations of architectural spaces and poetic rhythms. Nicholas Brooks works with film and sculpture to explore fleeting encounters, objects and narratives, presented as fragmented archaeological scenes that occupy real and digital space. Julia Crabtree and William Evans also explore the relationship between virtual and real spaces, playfully manipulating interfaces, objects and imagery into placeless, immersive scenarios. Nicholas Feldmeyer uses drawing, installation, photography and film to create subtle, yet elemental interventions in architecture, landscapes and geometry. Edgar–Walker use a palette of found objects and common building materials to investigate the systems of visual language at work in otherwise overlooked situations such as construction and commercial printing.
Back to the Things Themselves takes its title from the work of early 20th century philosopher Edmund Husserl, whose research into ‘structures of experience’ questioned the connection between how ‘things’ appear and how they are consciously or sub-consciously perceived.
A publication produced in conjunction with the exhibition will include contributions from the exhibiting artists and a previously unpublished essay by contemporary philosopher Graham Harman. Author of numerous books and texts that develop the concept of ‘object-oriented philosophy’, Harman is well known for his part in the movement of Speculative Realism. He is currently Distinguished University Professor at the American University in Cairo.