Gabirel Kuri: Before Contingency After The Fact

29 Sep 2011 – 27 Nov 2011

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

South London Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 36,436
  • Oval, Vauxhall

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Internationally acclaimed Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri presents a new installation spanning the SLG's main space, Clore Studio and back garden. The work continues Kuri's exploration of the nature of sculpture, the formal possibilities it affords and the relationship between 'soft' and 'hard' materials and resources. It was also inspired by ideas and imagery associated with housing, shelter, aid and financial speculation.

In the SLG's main space and back garden, a series of 'hard' sculptures ? large, uniformly painted metal shapes ? refer to the language of statistics or graphic representations of data. By presenting sequences of related forms, each one embodying a slightly different relationship between positive and negative space, or with each one placed at a slightly different angle or tipped over on one side, Kuri exposes their potential to be perceived as abstract, symbolic and/or utilitarian. The human scale of the sculptures, for example, means that if placed at particular angles they could provide cover if someone were to lie beneath them.

Punctuated by the occasional insertion of 'soft' materials, the heavy geometric forms in the main space and garden and table-like sculptures in the Clore Studio, which in one sense function as plinths, are interspersed with objects which make more immediate and direct visual reference to paraphernalia associated with emergency housing. With a lightness of touch for which he has become known, Kuri brings bottles of water, folded blankets or linen, used soap bars, door wedges and plastic sheeting into a surprising yet convincing visual play with their weightier counterparts. References to temporary shelter, and ultimately survival, provide just one of several undercurrents of inter-connecting logic.

That the exhibition's title could be repeated indefinitely ? before contingency after the fact before contingency after the fact etc ? introduces from the outset the circularity of the ideas and issues it addresses, as well as the structure of the show itself, and the relationships between the works within it. Time and again Kuri draws us into various lines of thinking which eventually take us back to where we began, albeit via a fascinating array of possible routes. The potentially eternal dialogue between form, function and materials vies with the unsolvable contradiction embodied in attempts to shape the future in the face of its inevitable unpredictability.

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