From Goethe's Faust or Breaking Bad the lab was and will always be the most interesting playground. But what a lab is and what a lab does are implicitly two disparate entities. As an end the lab only produces a certain result, a singularity filtered through never ending processes of thinking and rethinking. In opposition to this, the site of the lab is a multi-stranded, exuberant location, deep with possibility, resources like a waterfall, intoxicating potential in every square centimetre. The same applies to the artist's studio (one might only think of the high risk of turpentine poisoning). Ophelia's LAB installation can be seen as her workspace and experimental ballpark at the same time. The only difference between the sparkling process of art making and scientific research (for more effective headache-pills for example) is that the artists are allowed to work untidy, unrestricted by their own toxic wasteland of mess and detritus. In this way the installation could resemble the lab of a crazy (and tasteful) scientist that manages to create something completely new through infinite trial and error. Even with the absence of this artist-scientist the installation depicts the furious processes of exploration and calls for adventure like a recently deserted, freshly barricaded crime scene does.
Ophelia's practice generally celebrates adventure. Each moment neatly binds to create extraordinary outcomes where everything has an edge of curiosity about it to be explored. The play of materials flickers between high-tech investigations and a much more traditional artistic output, watercolours sit side by side with fluorescent lights and laser-cut-Perspex, wooden constructions dance around hay bails and rigid puffer jackets loom through the space, with a glowing sheen like a highly polished sports car. Peculiar is also the combination of strong and rich colours that can remind the observer of the exotic-fruit-department of a well-sorted supermarket. What's more the spaces concocted feel like a hybridised version between art installation and fashion catwalk, theatrics which disperse you between the (urban) jungle drapery, brute commercial aesthetics and farmyard hay bails sit happily as a whole with satisfying balance.
All in all the exhibitions shows the artist as multitasking experimenter, adapting situations with a delicacy of touch, tickling themes out of the woodwork and in the end creating a kind of theatrical laboratory which is always on the edge of collapse. The show at BEARSPACE incorporates a selected body of Ophelia's LAB, the greater whole existing as a continuously expanding creation
Ophelia was born in Frankfurt, Germany and now lives and works in London. Having studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, her work has recently been exhibited as part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries at both ICA London and Spike Island Bristol, whilst she has also been featured in Art Catlin Guide 2014 who recently exhibited her as part of their stand at London Art Fair. BEARSPACE is pleased to present LAB as Ophelia's debut solo show.
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